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Greencastle's three-day Heritage Christmas ends

Thousands come to the square for the celebration

Thousands come to the square for the celebration

December 16, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

· The last of the three days featured horse-and-buggy rides, clowns, carolers, balloons and extended shopping hours.




GREENCASTLE, PA. - With a few quick twists, the red and green balloons become a holiday treat.

"One candy cane," DeWayne "Uncle Bean" Izer said as he handed the balloon to the child. "Now just don't lick it."

While dozens waited in line for a handmade balloon figure, across the brightly lighted square of Greencastle, a man in a tuxedo knelt to play "O Christmas Tree" on the bowed psaltery for a small girl.

"Who wouldn't want to be a part of this?" said Bill Gour, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

Friday was the last day of Greencastle Heritage Christmas, and thousands came to the square for the celebration.

The last of the three days featured horse-and-buggy rides, clowns, carolers, balloons and extended shopping hours.

Strolling around the square, Greencastle Mayor Robert Eberly took a moment to drink in the mood. Listening to carolers singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," Eberly looked around the square at the hundreds of people sharing in the holiday spirit.

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"This is unique," he said. "It is something how our town comes together for this each year."

For many local residents, the annual Heritage Christmas festival is a mark of the holidays.

"We try to come every year," said Alicia Runshaw of Greencastle.

Gour estimated that thousands of people strolled the streets of Greencastle for Heritage Christmas this year, setting attendance and participation records for the 15-year-old event. Saying he gauged his estimate on the buggy ride sales and the home tour, he said the response to the festivities was "phenomenal."

Even Apple Annie, played by Shirley Stout, agreed.

"I have never seen so many people down here," she said.

One of the celebrations largest draws is the extended shopping hours, Gour said. Most of the downtown shops stayed open until 9 p.m. for the event, and those that did said business boomed.

"We will be busy through until 9 p.m. tonight," said Verna Barnhart of Willowtree Gifts and Flower Boutique.

As people filled the streets of Greencastle Friday night to ride a buggy, visit Santa and acquire their own balloon candy cane, John Swormley of Martinsburg, W.Va., couldn't help but smile at those around him.

"Only in Greencastle," he said.

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