Little North Pole Lights Up Sunday

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 There’s no better way to greet the holiday season than with Rockaway’s brightest show. Joe Mure’s Little North Pole is returning for its 21st season and the official lighting of this extravagantly decorated Neponsit home is Sunday, December 4.

The lighting of the Little North Pole has easily become one of the most anticipated events in Rockaway, especially for the off-season. Each year, Mure decks out his home at 144-03 Neponsit Avenue with thousands of bright lights, festive figurines, animatronic animals and more, transforming the home into a winter wonderland that would put the Griswold house in Christmas Vacation to shame. 

Santa Claus comes to check out the job-well done and tops off the star-studded show that kicks off at 3 p.m. and leads up to the lighting of the home. This year the event, which will be hosted by Goumba Johnny and Joe Causi, will be packed with performances by school groups like Scholars’ Academy and PS 114, local dance troupes, talented tenor Chris Macchio, a few tunes by the USO girls of American Bombshells, up-and-coming artist Dani Dante, the trio New Shades of Soul, an electric violinist who “will blow your socks off,” according to Mure, and several artists who had popular radio hits like CNR Trilogy, George Lamond and Lucas Prata. Carol Douglas Disco Diva Carol Douglas will deliver some Doctors Orders and close out the night before the man of the hour, Santa, makes his appearance. As always, every little boy and girl in attendance will have a chance to meet Santa and receive a toy.

Mure puts on this huge event each year to not only bring joy to the neighborhood, but to help raise awareness and funds for an important cause that impacts his own family, as well as millions of children: Type 1 juvenile diabetes. All money raised throughout the holiday season goes towards the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in hopes that a cure may one day be found. Mure says they raised about $175,000 last year and have raised more than $2 million for JDRF since starting the Little North Pole. The donations made each year have helped lead to important developments. “Throughout the years we’ve given every penny to JDRF and there’s been some major headways in terms of research,” Mure said. “Less than two months ago the FDA approved a closed-loop system and for more than three years we’ve been putting our money towards research on a closed-loop system.” Mure says a closed-loop system includes an artificial pancreas, which helps to make the lives of those who live with diabetes easier. “It’s not perfect. It’s not a cure, but we’re working on ways to make things more comfortable and allows someone with diabetes to live a more normal, healthy life,” Mure said. JDRF’s CEO Derek Rapp is expected to attend Sunday’s event.

Donation boxes will be set up outside of the home throughout the event and the holiday season. During the event, there is also going to be a raffle held for a trip to a resort. While the event is free, all of those are encouraged to make a donation to help this important cause.  Donations can also be made online at www2.jdrf.org/goto/littlenorthpole.

The money raised through the Little North Pole is paired with money raised from a cocktail party in conjunction with the event. The fundraising party is usually on Black Friday, but will instead be in April. “There’s no season for people who live with juvenile diabetes. They live with it and are forced to inject themselves with insulin every day. Whether we do this in November or April, the end result is that the money goes towards juvenile diabetes research and that’s the key,” Mure said.

“We put on this show that’s second to none because we want to give kids a memory of Christmas unlike any other and to help those who live with diabetes. We have all of these people come out to perform and donate their time and businesses that donate food and in return we’re hoping everyone can give some money towards diabetes research,” Mure said.

Sunday may be the big show, but the holiday cheer will continue on. On Monday evening, there will be another fun event with entertainment and a return visit from Santa for those in St. Camillus’ Special Olympics program, and once again on Tuesday morning for several groups of handicapped children from schools throughout Queens.  The Little North Pole will remain lit into January.

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