OK, turn on the lights

Hagerstown tree lighting to make holiday season official

Hagerstown tree lighting to make holiday season official

November 17, 2005|by JULIE E. GREENE

People will be rockin' around the tree Monday as the City of Hagerstown's huge pine tree at Public Square will be lit for the holiday season.

The public is invited to attend the tree-lighting ceremony, which begins at 5 p.m. in downtown Hagerstown with music performed by North (Hagerstown) High Brass Ensemble and a South Hagerstown High School ensemble and sung by members of Girls Inc. of Washington County.

The 30-foot-tall blue spruce came from the Potomac Street front yard of Boonsboro couple John and Carol Plum, said Junior Mason, Hagerstown parks superintendent.


"That was our first Christmas tree here in our new home, here when we built it (in 1989)," Carol Plum said.

The family placed Easter eggs around it, put yellow ribbons on it during the first and second Gulf Wars and decorated it at Christmastime until it got too big to decorate, she said.

Plum said her husband was unable to watch the tree get cut down Wednesday morning because he was being treated for an infection at Washington County Hospital. (For more on the Plums, see story on A1.)

Her husband had thought the tree could be displayed at City Park; he was not sure it was nice enough for Public Square, but city officials said the donated tree was and it was installed at the square on Wednesday, she said.

The couple have babied the tree, doctoring it years ago when one of the main limbs broke, Plum said.

"It is a beautiful tree," she said.

Among those who will be at the tree-lighting ceremony will be Girls Inc. carolers and 10-year-old friends Shawndell Doleman and Shelinia Henson.

The girls like Christmas songs so much they say they could sing them in the summer or anytime.

They are both anxious about singing at the ceremony, which they've done before, but they are looking forward to doing it again.

"You're kind of nervous, but you're happy at the (same) time," Shawndell said.

"At the end, when they're all clapping their hands and cheering, you lose butterflies," Shelinia said.

Shawndell, Shelinia and several other girls from Girls Inc. will sing upbeat holiday tunes such as "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Jingle Bell Rock," "Holly Jolly Christmas," Twelve Days of Christmas" and others.

Santa's elves, Jingles and Jangles, will be painting faces, for free, said Susie Salvagni, the city's events coordinator.

Santa Claus is expected to arrive around 6 p.m. and then the tree will be lit. Hot chocolate, hot cider and edible goodies will be available at the tree-lighting ceremony.

HollyFest will start at The Maryland Theatre at 7 p.m., following the tree ceremony, Salvagni said.

The free event will feature City Ballet School/Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company, Encorps Majorettes, Smithsburg High School Jazz Band, Smithsburg High's orchestra, South High's choral ensemble and the Sophisti'Cats' from Williamsport High School, according to a city holiday event flier.

Magician Dean Burkett and Miss Maryland Rachel Ellsworth also are expected at HollyFest.

Last year Kristian Dela Cruz, 16, was among the students performing at Public Square and at HollyFest, playing the tuba.

"It was very cool. I really liked it," said Kristian, who will return this year with the North High Brass Ensemble and play the trombone.

Bobby Mothershed, 16, of Maugansville, attended the tree-lighting ceremony as a spectator when he was in middle school and will perform at the ceremony for the first time with North High Brass Ensemble.

"I liked the music and how the city puts it on," Bobby said. It might be a little early, but it's a good kickoff to get people into the spirit of the holidays, he said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Tree lighting in Public Square and HollyFest

WHEN & WHERE: The tree lighting ceremony starts at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 21, in Public Square followed by HollyFest at 7 p.m. at The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., Hagerstown

COST: Free. For HollyFest, advance tickets can be picked up in The Maryland Theatre lobby between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. today, Friday or Monday. Extra tickets will be available in the lobby for people who didn't have a chance to pick up advance tickets.

MORE: Refreshments will be provided at the tree lighting. For more information, call 301-739-8577, ext. 183.

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