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Stories a highlight of Old Thyme Christmas

December 06, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Children who show up for Crystal Brown's storytelling at this weekend's Olde Tyme Christmas are in for a real treat and can expect to do more than just sit and listen.

"I'm going to tell a shadow puppet story first and a Grimm's fairy tale with a traditional wintry theme," Brown said of her appearance at 11 a.m. Saturday at the community center in Shafer Memorial Park.

Then Brown will launch into a string-figure story based on a German legend about the Christmas rose. A costumed tale of winter solstice with St. George, a dragon and The Green Man will get everyone involved, Brown said.

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The town's two-day holiday celebration gets under way on Friday at 6:30 p.m. with a parade that will start at the rear of Trinity Lutheran Church on South Main Street and move into Shafer Memorial Park.

Santa Claus will ride on a Boonsboro Fire Co. truck in that parade.

Once in the park, Santa will visit with children, who will be warmed with hot chocolate and cookies.

Additional Friday evening activities will include visits with Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, a live nativity scene, performances by the Boonsboro High School and Rohrersville bands, luminarias along the park walking paths, balloons and the lighting of the town Christmas tree.

Brown's appearance on Saturday is sponsored by the Boonsboro Free Library. Cookies and punch will be available at the community center, courtesy of the library.

Since 1985, Brown has been teaching poetry to children in schools through the Maryland State Arts Council.

Her interactive storytelling has evolved out of that experience, Brown said. "I would have the children act out simple poems and I would dress them up."

Currently working through an arts council grant, Brown takes her stories around Washington, Frederick and Howard counties. "You can't beat it - I get paid to make children happy," she said.

On Saturday, Brown said, she might also tell the Italian legend of Befana, who comes and fills children's stockings.

Or she might offer extended nursery rhymes, for which she has written her own versions.

With a master's degree in poetry, Brown has taught in Maryland, Mississippi and Laos. A native of California, she met her husband, Jimmie Brown, in Spain. He is from Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., and they settled in the Boonsboro area.

The Browns have two children and two grandchildren.

"I've done storytelling for the Sharpsburg Historical Society and various other community events," Brown said.

She also teaches art camp in the summer and tells stories on a regular basis at Cedar Ridge Children's Home.

The final holiday activity is on Dec. 15, when the Boonsboro Downstown Development Association hosts the annual Christmas decorating contest for homes and businesses within the town limits between 7 and 9 p.m. There will be three winners in each category.

All of the events are sponsored by the Boonsboro Mayor and Council and the Downtown Development Association.

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