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W.Va. Yuletide fest blends old, new

November 28, 1998|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va. - They didn't have the annual Christmas in Shepherdstown event when Jefferson County, W.Va., native Debbie Davila was living outside the quaint college town years back.

Visiting her mother in Martinsburg, W.Va., for the Thanksgiving holiday, Davila, now a Virginia Beach, Va., resident, said she read about the holiday happening in the local newspaper and decided to check it out.

"It's neat," said Davila, walking along German Street with her son, Juan, on Saturday afternoon.

In its 12th year, the weekend-long Christmas in Shepherdstown event - including activities for children and adults - is a mixture of old and new this year, said event chairperson Cindy Cook.

Standbys include the lighting of Shepherd College's McMurran Hall and caroling on Friday night, the greens and bake sale at the Shepherdstown Men's Club and historical house tours on Saturday and Sunday, Cook said.

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Different residents open their homes for the tour each year, she said.

This year, the three homes are clustered on West German Street at 214, 219 and 308, Cook said.

Proceeds benefit the Historic Shepherdstown Commission and DAR-UDC Archives Room at the Entler Hotel.

Additions to the event include white lights strung along the tops of all the German Street buildings, burlap bags covering all of the parking meters and a silent auction to benefit victims of Hurricane Mitch, she said.

The lights were donated by the owners of the True Value hardware store in Shepherdstown, Cook said.

Volunteers Ernie Fuss and Harry Bender Jr. strung the lights along German Street and at McMurran Hall, where the building and trees around it were lighted, she said.

The burlap bags, decorated with either a red or gold bow, are a gift of the town council, Cook said.

Town police officers helped spread cheer by putting whimsical red "tickets" - including a holiday greeting and small candy cane - on vehicle windshields.

The Shepherdstown Business Association sponsored the silent auction, including items donated by the town's businesses, she said.

One popular feature of the event - the Friday night bonfire - was missing this year, Cook said.

The bonfire had to be canceled due to a statewide ban on outdoor burning because of the dry weather, she said.

"People really missed it. I was really surprised," Cook said.

The event, which started as a "thank you" gift to the town from its shopkeepers, has continued to grow over the years thanks to word of mouth, she said.

Meg Zoberbier, of Poolesville, Md., said she tries not to miss it.

"I like it better than the mall," said Zoberbier, a Shepherd College alumnus whose son now attends the college.

"It's nice to pick up some odds and ends, Christmas decorations," she said.

Activities will continue at 11 a.m. today.

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