FORTY FORT — The usual holiday festivities took a bit of a back seat Saturday as the community gathered to remember a young murder-suicide victim while celebrating the season at Betty Mascelli Park.
Jessica Shultz placed a beautiful angel atop the park’s lighted Christmas tree in memory of her 2-year-old daughter, Camryn Shultz, who was killed by her father on Oct. 27.
Many in the crowd and Shultz herself were visibly moved as she placed the glittery angel on the tree.
Police Chief Dan Hunsinger said he was impressed by the community’s show of support for the family.
Almost 100 people participated in the event’s activities, sponsored by Families for Forty Fort Park, a community group organized by Amy Craig to improve and maintain the park.
Hot cocoa, ornaments and snow play preceded the arrival of Santa Claus, who made his way down Wyoming Avenue in a borough fire truck. A blanket of fresh snow added to the beauty of the park and the spirit of the day.
Borough council member Dottie Craig said she was participating both as a volunteer and as chairman of the recreation board.
“We want the park to be a place where memories are made,” said Craig. “Many of us can remembering sledding on park slope’s as young children.”
Andy Tuzinski, volunteer and mayor-elect, lauded Families for Forty Fort Park for their commitment to the community and creative ideas for the future. He said return of the park ice rink was one of the ideas being considered.
“Forty Fort is looking to the future. We want to maintain a strong community spirit and provide activities for young people,” said Tuzinski.
Resident Susan Magnotta said bringing her children to the event was a great way to celebrate the holiday season. She said her family enjoys coming to the park throughout the year.
Young attendee Emma Tweedy, at 3 months old, seemed content to wait for Santa wrapped in a blanket comfy on dad’s chest. Dad James Tweedy said he and his family look forward to making the event an annual holiday tradition.
Many of the dozens of children attending the event said the “absolute best part” of the day was the arrival of Santa Claus. They were not disappointed as he made his way into the park to the delight of attendees, ready to share Christmas requests.
Both Tuzinski and Amy Craig said they look forward to many other events being planned throughout the year.
Those interested in learning more about the Families for Forty Fort Park can access their website at https://www.facebook.com/groups/129463850594169/.