It's beginning to look a lot like Heritage Christmas in Greencastle

November 09, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Greencastle-Antrim's 17th annual Heritage Christmas celebration kicks off with the Shoppes of Greencastle Holiday Open House today and tomorrow.

Heritage Christmas was started by the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce in 1991, according to Executive Director Bill Gour.

"My goal with Heritage Christmas is to give the people in our area the opportunity to celebrate Christmas as a community," Gour said.

More than 40 different stores in the borough and the township can participate in the Shoppes of Greencastle, Gour said.

"We encourage them to offer free gift wrapping, refreshments, and extended hours," Gour said. "(Stores) do see a lot of business those nights."

County Shadow Gifts, on Buchanan Trail West in Greencastle, has extended its hours throughout the holidays, according to owner Mary Moore.


Previously the store was open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, but now they will remain open until 8 p.m. during the week.

Moore said the store sees an increase in business during the Shoppes of Greencastle Holiday Open House.

The tree lighting on center square on Nov. 16 is next on the schedule for Heritage Christmas. This tradition dates to the 1940s and 1950s, Gour said.

While the tree lighting ceremony begins at 7 p.m., preparation for it begins hours earlier, Gour said. At 3:30 p.m., a stage and other equipment will be set up.

People are expected to begin arriving on the square at 6:30 p.m., at which time they will be greeted and handed bells by Heritage Christmas Committee members in Victorian-style dress and a group of brownies dressed as Santa's elves.

Free popcorn and balloons will be provided by Jack Gaughen ERA Realtors and free hot chocolate and cookies will be served by the Exchange Club of Greencastle.

After words from Frank Mowen, former mayor, Greg Hoover, acting superintendent for the Greencastle-Antrim School District, and Gour, Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin., and his wife, Niki, will lead the crowd in Christmas carols.

Based on a contest sponsored by VerStandig Broadcasting, which is also in charge of the holiday parade in Greencastle, the grand marshal will be announced and will light the 25 to 30 foot Christmas tree.

"The crowd will be asked tThe Greencastle-Antrim Christmas parade is the morning following the tree lighting ceremony. The parade, which begins at 9:21 a.m., will feature floats, bands and, of course, Santa Claus.

The nights of Nov. 30, Dec. 7 and Dec. 14, in downtown Greencastle will feature live entertainment and a variety of vendors with giveaways, free treats and sales.

For a full list of vendors and entertainers, call the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce at 717-597-4610.

Additionally, on two separate days, there will be a home decorating and lighting contest and a home tour.

The home decorating and lighting contest is something new to Heritage Christmas this year. It developed from a door decorating contest held during previous Heritage Christmases. Homes will be judged on the evening of Dec. 8 and registration is due Dec. 5.

"A lot of people put so much effort into decorating their yards, we thought it would be more inviting for more people to participate if we broadened (the door decorating contest) to yard decorating," said Ginny Lays, a member of the decorating contest subcommittee.

The home decorating contest consists of three categories - traditional, with white lights and natural decorations, contemporary with multi-colored lights and children's world with inflatable items and anything animated. Two winners will be selected in each category and will receive gift baskets filled with donations from area businesses, Lays said.

The Heritage Christmas home tour features five homes along East Baltimore Street as well as the Grace United Church of Christ.

The 2007 Heritage Christmas ornament is on sale. The ornament depicts the Greencastle school that stood on South Washington Street from 1916 to 1983.

If you go

Nov. 9-10: The Shoppes of Greencastle Holiday Open House, various hours and locations

Nov. 16: Tree Lighting Ceremony, 7 p.m. on center square

Nov. 17: Annual Christmas Parade, sponsored by VerStandig Broadcasting, 9:21 a.m. in downtown Greencastle

Nov. 30, Dec. 7, Dec. 14: Heritage Christmas celebration nights, 6 to 9:30 p.m. in downtown Greencastle

Dec. 8: Heritage Christmas Home Decorating and Lighting Contest, registration required

Dec. 9: Heritage Christmas Home Tour, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., tickets cost $15

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