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Joshua Thomas
Richardson Brands' CEO Arnold D'Angelo welcomes the crowd to Saturday's tree lighting.

Joshua Thomas
The Canajoharie Fire Dept. delivers Santa Claus on one of their vehicles.

Joshua Thomas
The crowd at Richardson Brands' tree lighting ceremony welcomes Santa Claus.

Joshua Thomas
Aaron Hazzard listens to Richardson Brands' CEO Arnold D'Angelo speak during Saturday's tree lighting ceremony.

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Richardson Brands holds first-ever tree lighting

Thursday, December 12, 2013 - Updated: 4:51 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

CANAJOHARIE -- Richardson Brands' first-ever Christmas tree lighting celebration attracted a large crowd of village residents and company employees, who filled the entire stretch of concrete in front of the plant along 5S Saturday evening, even spilling over into the space across the street.

"I think we need to wait for Santa to start the show," said Richardson Brands CEO Arnold D'Angelo at the beginning of the event, which saw attendees crowding around man-made, metal-contained bonfires to keep warm. 

Santa Claus pulled up shortly thereafter in a Canajoharie Fire Department truck, Christmas music playing. After departing the vehicle, Santa made his way to a trellis covered throne created specifically for him.

Santa watched as D'Angelo, perched on a wooden platform lined in Christmas decor above the crowd, welcomed attendees. "I want to welcome everybody -- the entire village, and the Richardson's family for the first annual tree lighting," he said, stating of his 35 year career, "I've had a lot of successes, but I don't think I've had as much fun, camaraderie and cared about people more than I have in this community."

"We took a broken down building and made it into a Taj-Mahal," he said, receiving a loud cheer from the crowd. He explained that production has increased from three to 14 shifts a week, with sales increasing from 16 to 37 million.

"For the first year in ten years, the company will not lose money … and that's because of everyone that's involved here," he said.

Long term employees of the company were invited to light the tree and the star separately, lighting the tree first, as he said "it's the foundation of this company."

The public portion of the event, wherein residents took the opportunity to have their kids' photos taken with Santa Claus, who also passed out presents, was followed by a company Christmas party, which saw employees feasting on fried turkeys and an assortment of foods.

Joshua Thomas - The Richardson Brands tree in front of the plant was lit first Saturday evening, followed by its star.

Joshua Thomas - Taylor Potter tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas during Saturday's Richardson Brands Christmas tree lighting.

     

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