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2006 season opener

U.S. Marine, mayor light city's tree

U.S. Marine, mayor light city's tree

November 21, 2006|by ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN - Santa Claus came to town Monday night on a wagon pulled along Potomac Street by a tractor.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Lance Cpl. Jonathan Breehl joined the jolly old elf on the wagon for the ride to Public Square.

Santa disembarked with a wave and a jolly "Ho, Ho, Ho" and made his way through the crowd, stopping to have his picture taken with children.

Breehl, who is home from Iraq while recuperating from injuries he sustained there, flipped the switch to light the 25-foot blue spruce with Santa and the mayor at his side.

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Abigail Nigh, 6, called the tree "beautiful" and said that Santa was pretty neat, too. She said she plans to ask Santa for a guitar and dolls.

Her sister, Grace, 4, wants a teddy bear. Santa made her feel shy, Grace said.

Cousin Katelyn Reiff, 3, waved her arms and flashed a big smile as she announced that she wants a hamster for Christmas.

Before the tree lighting, the North Hagerstown High School Brass Ensemble and Girls Inc. performed Christmas carols.

Master of ceremonies Scott Savage invited everyone to The Maryland Theatre for Hollyfest, where Bruchey welcomed people to the "kickoff of the holiday season."

The theater was almost full for the 17th annual holiday celebration, according to usher Betty College.

Penny Sheppard of Hagerstown has attended the last six or seven Hollyfests, she said.

"It's a nice thing for the people that doesn't cost anything. It gives you a chance to see The Maryland Theatre," she said.

Sheppard sat next to her granddaughter, Chardonnay Prather, 10, who said that Hollyfest is a "pretty good" event.

The Smithsburg High School Orchestra performed for its 10th Hollyfest, playing a medley of Christmas songs and "Let it Snow."

An ensemble from Dancin' Times Studios did a high-energy tap dance number, ending with Rockettes-style high kicking, that garnered great applause from the audience.

A small group from Encorps Majorettes got the crowd clapping as they performed a number to "Jingle Bell Rock."

Miss Washington County 2006 Carrie Shank slowed things down with a reading of "The Night Before Christmas" to children gathered onstage. The Nickelodeon character Eliza Thornberry also made an appearance during the reading.

The Potomac Classical Youth Ballet Company and Smithsburg High School Jazz Band rounded out the show with their 17th Hollyfest appearances.

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