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Festival of Lights to Celebrate 20 Years of Starting the Holidays With Cheer at Newton Medical Center

NEWTON, NJ, OCTOBER 2011 – The C. Edward McCracken Festival of Lights is almost here, and this year will mark 20 years of brightening the campus of Newton Medical Center and lifting the spirits of patients and visitors during the holiday season.

The festival, scheduled for Saturday, November 19, 2011, has become an annual tradition for families from throughout Sussex County, who come together at the hospital to enjoy an evening of children's events and caroling, culminating with the annual lighting of trees along the hospital’s southern driveway by the McCracken family, and a spectacular fireworks show.

The trees are decorated by sparkling strings of lights purchased by supporters of the hospital and donated in honor of loved ones. Donors may also sponsor the evergreen trees, wreathes, and other elements of the event. Proceeds from the event will benefit Newton Medical Center.

The Festival of Lights event will begin at 4:30pm with children’s crafts and games, including a chance to meet Santa, Rudolph and Frosty, followed by a community reception at 5:30pm, and culminating with the tree lighting and fireworks display at 6:30pm.

On this, the 20th anniversary of the Festival of Lights, Newton Medical Center Foundation takes special notice of Ed’s contributions as a Foundation Trustee and the McCracken Family’s 20-year legacy of continued dedication and support.

C. Edward McCracken, a respected member of the Sussex County business community and supporter of Newton Medical Center (previously known as Newton Memorial Hospital), began the Festival of Lights two decades ago with the simple, humble desire to brighten the hospital campus for patients and visitors during the holiday season. The event caught on and grew each year, including the addition of the fireworks show in the fifth year of the event, which by then had become a community tradition. After McCracken’s passing the following year, the tradition was carried on by his wife, Shirley, and children, James and Robert McCracken and Jo-Ellen McCracken Hazan, and the Newton Medical Center Foundation.

“It’s been the kickoff of the holidays for us, and, I think, for many people,” said James McCracken, one of Edward McCracken’s three children. “It has also been a day to remember our father.”

“Our father was very passionate about doing what he was able to, to make someone else’s life, especially those who find themselves in the hospital during the holidays, a little brighter,”  said daughter Jo-Ellen McCracken Hazan. “Those were values that our father and mother instilled in us growing up.”

“Looking back on these past 20 years, I think it would have been hard to imagine not only how the event has been celebrated each year but continues to grow,” said Robert McCracken, Chair of NMC Advisory Board.

Sponsors for the event include: Event Sponsor – Smith-McCracken/Wood Funeral Home; Family Sponsor – The Hazan Family;  Fireworks Sponsor – EmCare & Newton Medical Center ER Physicians; Fountain Sponsors – Mr. & Mrs. Martin Baldassano, Clear Channel Radio, Clifford , Blanchard, Wm. Blanchard Co., Hi-Touch Business Services, Ken & Ann Kievit, and Valley View Care Center; Children’s Tent Sponsor – Farmside Landscape & Design, Inc., William Finch, RoNetco Supermarkets, Inc., and Joseph Trunfio; Holiday Wreath Sponsor – Adrienne Koochagian; Illuminator Sponsors – John & Maureen Ferrari, Dr. & Mrs. Ronlad Keith Harris, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ, Mr. & Mrs. Peter R. Kellogg, Rev. & Mrs. Ernest M. Kosa, Mountain Creek Companies, Peter R. & Cynthia K. Kellogg Foundation, R. Poust Heating & Cooling, Inc., and Shirley Ratti.

Sponsorships for these and other categories are still available. To enter the raffle, purchase a string of lights or for more information, call 973-579-8309 or click here >

About Atlantic Health System
Atlantic Health System is one of the largest non-profit health care systems in New Jersey, comprised of Morristown Medical Center, Overlook Medical Center in Summit and Newton Medical Center. The three medical centers – all accredited by The Joint Commission – have a combined total of 1,308 licensed beds and more than 2,750 affiliated physicians providing a wide array of health care services to the residents of Northern and Central New Jersey. Specialty service areas include advanced cardiovascular care, pediatric medical and surgical specialties, neurology, orthopedics, and sports medicine. Each of these programs has earned top ratings and recognitions in their respective fields. Atlantic Health System is the official health care partner of the New York Jets and an official health care provider of the New Jersey Devils.

Morristown Medical Center’s Gagnon Cardiovascular Institute performs more heart surgeries than any other hospital in New York or New Jersey, and is one of 20 facilities across the country to perform catheter-based repair and replacement of valves on both sides of the heart. Atlantic Health System’s spine program – where surgeons perform more spine surgery than anywhere else in New Jersey – is one of just 13 hospitals across the country that has received the Gold Seal of Approval™ from The Joint Commission, achieving Disease-Specific Care Certification for cervical and lumbar spine treatments. With the Atlantic Neuroscience Institute based at Overlook Medical Center, the hospital serves as the hub for the New Jersey Stroke Network, and serves about 40 percent of the state’s stroke patients. The system’s Goryeb Children’s Hospital offers more than 100 board-certified physicians in 20 pediatric specialties. Morristown Medical Center is verified as a Level I Regional Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons and designated a Level II by the state of New Jersey.

Atlantic Health System has been chosen for the past three consecutive years by FORTUNE® as one of the magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For®.” The organization has also been recognized four times by AARP as one of the “Best Employers for Workers over 50.” Inside Jersey magazine partnered with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and ranked Morristown Medical Center as the No. 1 hospital in New Jersey and the No. 1 hospital for treatment of heart failure and coronary surgery in the state. The survey findings also establish Overlook as No.1 for the treatment of neurological disorders and No. 2 for stroke treatment in NJ. Atlantic Health System is a Major Clinical Research Affiliate with The Cancer Institute of New Jersey and is the primary academic and clinical affiliate in New Jersey of Mount Sinai School of Medicine and The Mount Sinai Hospital.

Morristown Medical Center

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Overlook Medical Center

99 Beauvoir Avenue
Summit, NJ 07901

Newton Medical Center

175 High Street
Newton, NJ 07860

Chilton Medical Center

97 West Parkway
Pompton Plains, NJ 07444

Hackettstown Medical Center

651 Willow Grove Street
Hackettstown, NJ 07840

Goryeb Children's Hospital

100 Madison Avenue
Morristown, NJ 07960

Affiliated Providers

Atlantic Medical Group

More than 900 health care