Martinsburg festival celebrates season

December 09, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. -Kacy Shafer, 8, scrunched her nose and shook her head.

No 24-degree weather - 14 degrees with the wind chill taken into account - could keep her from standing in line to see Santa Claus during Martinsburg's Christmas celebration Friday night.

During the festival, several groups sang and, after counting down from 10, Mayor George Karos plugged in the cord to light the town's Christmas tree.

Santa, though, may have trumped even the mayor.

When an announcer said Santa was coming down King Street - in a carriage pulled my two mules - two children raced down Queen Street to see him.


At the back of the line of children waiting to sit on Santa's lap were Betty Ballard and her two daughters, Tearia, 7, and Kayla, 5.

Kayla wants a Barbie House. When Tearia said she wants a scooter, Kayla chimed in, "I was going to say that, too."

Kathy Gottlieb's 2 1/2-year-old son, Ethan, stood away from his mother, kicking at piles of plowed snow along the sidewalk's edge. When Gottlieb asked him what he wants, he shouted, "Candy and cookies."

"That's been his standard response," Gottlieb said.

Logan Cloud had his list ready. He wants a PlayStation 1 and a PlayStation 2, along with a remote-controlled car.

"I think Santa Claus knows me," Logan said.

He wouldn't say why.

Kacy, meanwhile, wants an American Girl doll.

Before the crowds arrived, Kimberly Nelson Bushman, who coordinated the event, stood on the corner of King and Queen streets, bundled in bright clothes.

The town's tree, which was donated, was so large only the top was cut off to be decorated. After a few branches broke off, city workers wired in some to fill the gaps, she said.

"This was the most enormous, awkward, dangerous job," Bushman said.

Bushman agreed to coordinate the event over the summer. She estimated she has put in about 80 hours. Around a dozen volunteers assisted with the effort, she said.

Because the lights from last year did not work, Bushman said she had to buy new ones for the tree. A test run was held to make sure the lights worked when the mayor turned them on, she said.

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