BUFFALO, N.Y. — Hertel Avenue is getting ready to light up the neighborhood for the holidays with its annual tree lighting on Friday. 

The tree was decorated with ornaments and topped with a star tuesday morning. 

While it has become a tradition in Hertel over the last three years, the Hertel Business Association is also starting a new one.

For the first time ever, Mr. and Mrs. Claus will begin riding their sleigh during a parade on Hertel and Parkside at 6:00 p.m..

They will end at the tree lighting at St. Margaret's Church. 

"The Hertel Business Association came up with the idea to have the parade and they made a custom-made sleigh for Santa and Mrs. Claus," said Buffalo Common Council member Joel Feroleto. "We think that'll just draw more people to this event which is already very popular for quite some time."

In anticipation of thousands coming to celebrate the holiday season, businesses from Delaware to Parker Avenue will have extended hours Friday.

Hertel has several small, locally owned businesses. Soda Kuczkowski is the vice president of the Hertel Business Association and the owner of Start With Sleep, which helps adults and children who have a hard time getting rest at night. 

She's been owning it over the last four years and says creating more traditions in the Hertel neighborhood such as the tree lighting ceremony and parade only adds to the community feel of it all. 

"The Hertel Business Association isn't just about business even though it says it in our name," Kuczkowski said. "We're about the residents, the community, community organizations...we do everything collectively as a community."

Several businesses and the North Park Community School will also have some holiday-themed activities for families on Saturday. 

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