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A sight to behold

Tree lighting delights

Tree lighting delights

November 26, 2002|by PEPPER BALLARD

pepperb@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - The lighting of Hagerstown's Christmas tree sparked more than a string of lights at the Town Square Monday, where residents young and old gathered to jingle in the holiday season.

Hagerstown Mayor William M. Breichner said he was surprised by the weather - warmer than usual - despite a few shivering spectators.

Emily Bolton, 11, a sixth-grader at Smithsburg Middle School, flipped the switch to turn on the tree lights before an audience of about 100.

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Emily, who raised more than $13,000 for bullet-proof vests for police dogs this summer, was selected for the honor due to her pre-season Christmas spirit, said Breichner.

"Each year that tree gets prettier and prettier," said Hagerstown resident Charles Dunnigan, 70.

Heidi Tenebaum, 25, said she and her family just moved to Hagerstown from Washington D.C., and came to the tree-lighting ceremony to feel like a part of the community.

"This is what we were looking for in a small town," she said.

Belinda Fulk, 50, of Hagerstown, said she could recall when the Christmas tree was centered in the roadway of the square, but this was the first tree-lighting ceremony she attended.

"I miss being down here shopping and being a part of the Christmas that it was like when I was a child," she said.

Ashley Haywood, 17, a North Hagerstown High School senior, was dressed as an elf for the ceremony. Haywood, after prancing across South Potomac Street, said acting silly makes the event fun for her.

Elf and North High Senior Boh Nichols, 17, looked over his costume and pointed to his red and green striped knee-high socks. "My costume goes against my school colors, but it's Christmas."

Santa Claus said he loves the children and the Christmas music, but always looks forward to the annual Holly Fest that follows the tree lighting.

Members of the Highland View Academy Handbell Choir shivered in tuxedos and purple satin dresses before their Holly Fest curtain call. They were on hand to watch the South Hagerstown High School Jazz Combo play.

Stephanie McCoy, 40, stood in the front row before a group of animated Girls Inc. members who were singing Christmas songs.

Her daughter, Danielle, 7, was singing to one side of the group clad in red and white sweatshirts.

McCoy said Danielle was sick with a 48-hour virus a few days ago. She looked forward to singing in the chorus and got better fast, she said.

St. Mary's Catholic School students Chyna Golding, 8, and Milan Golding, 7, finished a ballet rehearsal as angels in "The Nutcracker" before coming to the ceremony.

"Christmas is my favorite holiday because it's when Jesus was born," Chyna Golding said.

The North Hagerstown High School Brass Band performed Christmas songs at the annual ceremony.

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