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Shepherdstown filled with Christmas spirit

November 25, 2007|By DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA.

For Roberta Cucuzzella, the Christmas concert at O'Hurley's General Store Sunday was just another reaffirmation of the good life in Shepherdstown.

Cucuzzella said she moved to the area about three years ago and has found the town to be a welcome respite from her daily routine.

Cucuzzella is a doctor at a children's hospital in Washington, D.C., and commutes to her job about twice a week.

Or in other words, Cucuzzella said she commutes "just enough to make you want to come back home."

Cucuzzella was one of about 50 people who attended the concert at O'Hurley's General Store, part of an ongoing Christmas celebration in town that has a distinct flavor.

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There's a special indoor marketplace selling greens, crafts and baked goods, trolley tours of town, roasted chestnuts and strolling carolers.

On Sunday, Jay Hurley, owner of O'Hurley's General Store, kept the spirit rolling with Christmas tunes produced by his musician friends on a mandolin, guitar, flute and harp.

The music filtered through a room known as the "Great Hall," built with large exposed wooden beams and a massive brick fireplace at one end.

Spectators ladled hot drinks from an iron pot over a fire in the fireplace and hardly a sound could be heard during silent moments in the music, except for periodic loud snaps in the fire.

"We love it. It gives you the Christmas spirit. Peaceful," said Cucuzzella, who held her 2-year-old daughter, Lilly, during the performance.

Garland was wrapped around the wooden beams and a towering evergreen served as the Christmas tree in the room.

The musicians took a break to hear from Ken Bethany, who told a popular story about a girl who wrote to a New York Sun editor in the late 1800s and asked him if Santa Claus existed.

The editor answered that Santa Claus did exist and anyone who suggests otherwise is someone who is "affected by skepticism of a skeptical age," according to Bethany.

And Santa Claus will continue to exist for thousands of years and "make glad the hearts of children," Bethany said.

"My hat's off to you," Hurley said after Bethany finished the story.

Donn Marshall, spokesman for the town's Christmas in Shepherdstown celebration, said the event is something people are seeking.

"People have enough of the mall. This is good for the soul," Marshall said.

The celebration continues Friday, Saturday and Sunday with a Christmas parade on German Street Saturday at 11 a.m. and other attractions. O'Hurley's General Store will be part of the action again Sunday at 2 p.m. with a sing-along in the Great Hall.

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