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Fest a good Tyme for all

December 03, 2006|by TARA REILLY

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. - Evergreen wreaths and lights were strung from quaint, historic storefronts.

Outside The Vintage Lady, a jewelry and gift shop, a Santa Claus doll that was several feet tall, danced and sang "Winter Wonderland."

A few businesses down, a live Mr. and Mrs. Claus emerged from The Armory Pub and made their way up steps to a small deck to greet visitors.

The festive scene Saturday was part of Olde Tyme Christmas 2006 in the Lower Town Historic District in Harpers Ferry, a community rich in Civil War history. The annual event, sponsored by Harpers Ferry National Historical Park and Harpers Ferry merchants, continues today and Dec. 8 to 10.

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The event includes live music, Civil War re-enactors and a living nativity at St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church.

Doug and Sandy Ottaviano traveled from Great Cacapon in Morgan County, W.Va., to take in the old-fashioned Christmas atmosphere and a bit of history.

They've been to the Olde Tyme Christmas celebration several times and have seen it grow. "It's getting better," Sandy Ottaviano said.

Doug Ottaviano said that in the 1950s when he was 8, his father brought him to Harpers Ferry. He remembers seeing excavated rifles that were still in the ground.

The experience piqued his interest in history, he said.

"I'm 55 now, and I'm still coming back," he said.

He said he appreciates towns that remain true to their heritage.

"I grew up near Baltimore, and nothing ever stays the same," he said. "Everything gets knocked down, bulldozed and forgotten. Here, time is unaltered."

Jack and Janice Barber of Catonsville, Md., had just left a Celtic folk band concert by The Unfortunate Rakes at St. Peter's and stopped for a minute near a re-enactment Union recruitment tent.

They said they were enjoying the Christmas celebration.

"I wanted to make it last year, but I couldn't ..." Jack Barber said. "It's an interesting atmosphere, and I love the history."

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