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Community comes together for Heritage Christmas

December 08, 2007|By ASHLEY HARTMAN

GREENCASTLE, PA. - During the second Friday of Heritage Christmas in Greencastle, children could be seen crowded around clowns, waiting for a photo with Santa Claus or busily decorating gingerbread cookies. Adults might have chosen to take a ride on the horse and buggy or warm up with a cup of hot chocolate or apple cider.

The lights on Greencastle's 35-foot Christmas tree illuminated the center square, which was lined with vendors selling their wares or giving away cookies and hot drinks.

Kristin Marconi came downtown to bring her children, Nicholas, 10, and Abigail, 8, to see Santa Claus.

"I like seeing Santa Claus and getting my balloon," said Nicholas, who watched as DeWayne "Uncle Bean" Izer made him a balloon character.

"We live in Greencastle and we try to participate in Heritage Christmas every year," Marconi said. "I like that the whole community is out. It makes you feel kind of connected at Christmas time."

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The family moved to Greencastle three years ago and like the "small-town feel about it," Marconi said.

"It was a special thing when we moved here," she said.

Photographs with Santa Claus were courtesy of the Greencastle Exchange Club.

"We do this every year," said Exchange Club member Karen Showalter. "We ask for donations to go towards our Christmas project."

The club will provide 44 needy families in Greencastle with presents this year, Showalter said.

Showalter, who was born and raised in Greencastle, said she appreciates how the whole community comes together for Heritage Christmas.

"It's amazing how much involvement they have in the community," she said.

Showalter added that the horse and buggy rides were already booked for the night, as well as for the final Friday of Heritage Christmas on Dec. 14.

After getting her picture taken with Santa Claus, 6-year-old Sara Garner told her father, Doug Garner, that she asked Santa Claus for a Clydesdale.

"I like horses," she said.

"She's ridden them," Doug Garner said.

"We come down every year" for Heritage Christmas, he said. "It looks like something out of a Norman Rockwell print."

Jenna Root, 6, and her mother, Kellie Root, were among those lined up inside the Greencastle Church of the Brethren to decorate gingerbread cookies.

Jenna topped her yellow-iced cookie with chocolate chips, marshmallows and M&M's.

Kellie Root said her family has participated in Heritage Christmas for nine years.

"It reminds me of living in Mayberry - it's just that small town that cares about the community and they get to make things like gingerbread cookies, that we wouldn't do otherwise," Kellie said.

Kay Witmer, wearing a Heritage Christmas sweatshirt from 1994, said she has seen quite a few Heritage Christmases.

"It's just something to look forward to - it's part of what makes Christmas what it is," said Witmer, a lifelong Greencastle resident.

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