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It's Christmas, Smithsburg style

December 11, 2005|By TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

SMITHSBURG -

The kids bunched, the snow crunched, it was Santa's big scene.

Traffic stopped on Main Street on Saturday afternoon while the town's younger citizens - and a few guests - celebrated the second annual Old Fashioned Smithsburg Christmas.

Carolers strolled along the street as children decorated Christmas trees on the town square.

On one corner, a half-dozen members of Girl Scout Troop 647 applied ribbons and ornaments to a tree that was ever so slightly off-center.

"We've got the leaning tower here," said their leader, Gwen Blacklin.

The girls, who meet at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Smithsburg, made the decorations during troop meetings, Blacklin said.

They had been baking Christmas cookies all morning, Blacklin said.

"After they get done with this, they're done for the day," she said.

"I gave up shopping for this," chimed in Amanda Cooper, 14, of Cascade.

Just past the Dixie Eatery on Main Street, Santa held court under a blue canopy. A little girl in a light blue jacket climbed onto his lap and asked for an Easy-Bake oven.

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"Santa really loves you," he replied, and, revealing his talent for speaking in the local vernacular, added "don't forget to let Santa some cookies on Christmas Eve."

Two doors down at Trinity Lutheran Church, carolers provided background music for the live nativity scene as workers inside the church prepared for an influx of children who soon would be lining long tables to craft Christmas ornaments.

Across the street at the Smithsburg Historical Society, Sari Kilheffer demonstrated some old-fashioned amusements for children, such as spinning a button on a string. Antique toys were on display, and a couple of children were completing drawings for the society's coloring contest under the watchful eye of a portrait of the late Nancy Funk Lechler - perhaps literally, local historian Charlie Slick said.

Slick said a visitor to the building once claimed to see the long-deceased Lechler, who is buried in Smithsburg, standing at full height in front of the portrait.

"He really got freaked out," Slick said. "I've explained to her that she's back home. She hasn't been too active since then."

But it was the ghost of Christmas present that was haunting Smithsburg General Store on Saturday, where co-owner Richard Grove said the downtown festivities actually had kept some of his customers away since Main Street was closed.

Grove predicted he would have few customers "as long as this is going on."

But Smithsburg Mayor Mildred E. "Mickey" Myers had a prediction of her own.

"This is only two hours," Myers said. "It probably ends up giving more business in the long run."

The celebration was to culminate with a children's party at the fire hall.

"It's always heavily attended," Myers said.

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