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Greencastle comes together for Christmas

Thousands gather in square for tree lighting

Thousands gather in square for tree lighting

November 16, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, Pa. ? Thousands of people crowded into Center Square in Greencastle on Friday for the illumination of the borough's Christmas tree.

"Here in the heart of our community comes this evergreen tall and strong," said Paul Schemel, vice president of the Greencastle Borough Council.

It was the official kickoff of Greencastle-Antrim's Heritage Christmas celebrations, which continue throughout November and December.

As people arrived on the square, they were greeted and handed bells by members of Greencastle Brownie Troop 981 who were dressed as Santa's elves, and Heritage Christmas Committee members in Victorian-style dress. Shirley Shatzer was dressed as Apple Annie, and Russ and Dody Clever were dressed as Two Nuts and a Bolt.

At 7 p.m., town crier Frank Mowen, former mayor of Greencastle, called for the celebration to begin.

"It's a wonderful feeling when you live in an area that can all come together for Christmas," said Bill Gour, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

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Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin, and his wife, Niki, led the crowd in Christmas carols such as "Away in a Manger," "I'll Be Home for Christmas" and "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer."

"I thought the music was very nice," said Jean Acker, who has been a Greencastle resident for 50 years. "We really had a crowd."

Her husband, John, said he liked how a string of lights circled center square around the tree.

Scheyenne Ernst, 5, was named grand marshal in a contest sponsored by VerStandig Broadcasting, which also is in charge of the holiday parade in Greencastle.

"She'll be grand marshal tomorrow (in the parade)," Gour said. "She will sit in a car and wave to people, wearing her robe, sash and crown."

When it was time to light the giant evergreen on Center Square, the whole crowd shook their jingle bells and counted down from 10. 

After the countdown, Scheyenne pushed a button to light the 30-foot evergreen tree, which was donated by Ursula Nisley.

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

"The event grows each year," said Todd Streett, a member of the Heritage Christmas Committee. "It's an opportunity to get out and get into the Christmas spirit."

The Greencastle-Antrim Christmas Parade is today at 9:21 a.m. in downtown Greencastle.

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