Salomone Brothers Inc. concrete trucks are decked out for the holidays and stop at Sip n Swirl in Little Falls on Saturday December 15, 2018.
Anne-Marie Caruso, NorthJersey
The Salomone brothers and their concrete and construction company, Salomone Brothers Inc., have always been big on Christmas.
The exterior of their headquarters in Wayne is festooned with LED wreaths, wall-mounted Christmas trees and jumbo candles.
Their annual holiday party includes a 65-foot track train called the Salomone Express, a homemade Ferris wheel, bounce house, vintage coin-operated kiddie ride, ice cream truck, balloon artist, face painters and of course, Santa.
But to drivers and parade-goers in northern New Jersey, the company is probably best known for the two lit-up, spinning concrete mixing trucks it sends out on the road every holiday season.
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“It’s the best time of the year,” said Paul Salomone, who owns the company with his brother, Joseph. “It’s all about the kids.”
The trucks are a people-pleaser with no age limit, however.
From late November to New Year’s Day, they light up roads, local tree lighting events and parades with a combined 54,000 multicolored LED lights.
Carmen Realmonte, a plant manager at the company who oversees the decorating of the trucks, likes to point out that they outshine the Rockefeller Center tree by about 7,000 bulbs.
“It just brings joy to people,” Realmonte said. “We go down the street and people turn, they honk, they wave, they do anything to get our attention. The kids go crazy, their eyes light up and they scream.”
They go even crazier when the trucks, each equipped with two DJ speakers and two snow machines, blast Christmas music and shoot out snow.
On Saturday night, the trucks drew dozens to a Christmas event at the company-owned Sip ‘N Swirl ice cream shop in Little Falls.
Aaryan Sonnylal and his twin Jayan, 4-year-olds from Orange, could not tear their eyes away from the spectacle. They gasped when a burst of artificial snow shot in the air.
“It’s snowing!” Aaryan exclaimed, pointing to the sky.
Mark Welhorsky, of Bloomingdale, said he saw one of the trucks while driving on routes 80 and 23 last week and did a double take.
“I thought, ‘Oh my God, what am I even looking at,’” he said. “It’s kind of wild, I don’t know why anybody would do this.”
Salomone Brothers decked out their first truck five years ago after being asked to bring a cement mixing truck to a Christmas parade. The company added a second truck the next year and now spends 10 days decorating both.
Seven employees work a combined 700 hours to wash the trucks, attach the lights to 8,000 stick-on hooks, secure them with cable ties and tie them down with thin green wire, Realmonte said.
The lights get replaced every three years and every day, at least eight strands blown out by wear and tear are fixed or replaced.
The trucks keep to a busy schedule. They made seven appearances at town tree lightings and parades this season while also visiting the St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital in Paterson and special needs homes.
“We do it for everybody and we try to do it for the less fortunate,” Realmonte said.
If there is no crowd to entertain, the company finds its own. On quiet nights, employees drive the trucks to Willowbrook Mall in Wayne for impromptu parking lot parties.
Realmonte dreams of one day taking the trucks to the most festive party of them all: the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square.
He has been pestering the Times Square Alliance organization for an invitation but has had no luck so far.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s an adult or a little kid or the older guy, everybody puts a smile on their face when they see the trucks.” Realmonte said. “If they don’t have a smile then they’re the Grinch.”
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