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Children stars of Old Tyme Christmas

December 08, 2007|By DAN DEARTH

FUNKSTOWN - Ten-year-old Taylor Baer said he wasn't nervous just after he finished playing "The Little Drummer Boy" and "What Child is This?" on the piano for about 150 people Friday evening at Funkstown Town Hall.

"I've done this before," Taylor said. "I was confident with myself."

Taylor was one of a group of children who performed as part of Funkstown's annual Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration, which featured a visit from Santa Claus, holiday carols and shopping at downtown stores until 9 p.m.

"I think it's great to go back to our grassroots and get back to the true meaning of Christmas," said Terry Williams, 46, of the Smithsburg area. "We were thrilled to walk up and down the streets and go to the shops ... It's just a more laid-back atmosphere than the malls."

As adults browsed Funkstown's stores and children threw snowballs on the sidewalks outside, Donna Klein, owner of Valley Antiques and Uniques at 108 E. Baltimore St., said the Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration is good for business.

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"Things are going wonderful," she said. "We have a wonderful crowd. Everyone is supportive of what we're doing."

Rich Gaver, Olde Tyme Christmas chairman, said the event brings about 2,500 people downtown every year.

First graders from the Funkstown School for Early Childhood Education helped kick off the celebration at 6 p.m. by singing Christmas carols in the basement of St. Paul's Lutheran Church. Roughly 200 people crammed into the room and politely jockeyed for position to get the best photo angles.

When the children finished, everyone ventured outside into the cold and lined the streets to get a glimpse of the parade. Santa rode on the front fender of a fire truck that stopped in front of Town Hall.

Children swarmed the jolly old elf as he walked inside and took a seat to ask children what they wanted for Christmas.

Mackenzie Wincovitch, 5, of Funkstown, said she asked Santa for a Bratz doll, an ice-cream maker and a hamster. Although Santa didn't make any guarantees, Mackenzie's mother, Heather, said she heard the requests loud and clear.

Santa also visited the Animal Clinic of Funkstown to pose for pictures with pets. Proceeds from a small fee that was charged will be earmarked to help local animal shelters and Operation Military Care K-9, a program that sends care packages to military dogs and their handlers, said Erin Mills, a registered veterinary technician at the clinic.

"(Olde Tyme Christmas) is an interaction between businesses and the community," event chairman Gaver said. "It helps promote the town."

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