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Heritage Christmas will bring holiday spirit to Greencastle

November 14, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - In the tradition of a Currier and Ives painting, Greencastle will soon bathe its streets in white light, keep its shops open late and jingle the sleigh bells for another picturesque Heritage Christmas.

Today marks the beginning of the monthlong holiday celebration with Shoppes of Greencastle Open House.

Heritage Christmas has been a Greencastle-Antrim community tradition since 1991, said Bill Gour, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce.

Although it is hosted by the Chamber, Gour said it is not a Chamber event, but rather a Greencastle event.

"It's absolutely a Currier and Ives, Norman Rockwell kind of Christmas here," Gour said. "This is a community celebration of Christmas."

No other community celebrates the holiday quite like Greencastle, Gour said.

Kicking off with a weekend open house of all downtown shops, Greencastle will celebrate Christmas 2008 by lighting its Christmas tree and the lights around the square on Nov. 21, parading through town on Nov. 22, keeping shops open late through the month of December, hosting a home decoration contest through Dec. 13 and culminating with three Fridays of open air revelry on Dec. 5, 12 and 19.

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Not much has changed in the 18 years of Heritage Christmas, making the event a tradition many look forward to all year, Gour said.

"Greencastle takes pride in it (Heritage Christmas)," he said. "People have a sense of ownership with this event, they are part of it."

About the only change in the event comes by way of the numbers.

Each year, the small town swells to welcome more shoppers, more vendors and more revelers as word of the old-fashioned celebration spreads, Gour said.

Anticipating at least 3,000 people to come to the tree lighting ceremony alone, he said people can expect every day of Heritage Christmas to be even bigger.

To accommodate large crowds, the Chamber is already taking reservations for its popular horse and buggy rides, selling its Lights of Love and stringing bells for the tree lighting.

"Heritage Christmas is a big, cool idea," Gour said. And although he is beginning to feel the drain of throwing a monthlong Christmas party, he said he is ready "because it's Christmas and Christmas is awesome."

For more information and a full schedule, check out the Chamber's Web site at www.greencastlepachamber.org.

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