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Heritage Christmas focuses on old-fashioned fun

December 12, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, PA.

Geneva Mace smiled as she leaned to point from the horse-drawn carriage at the historical Greencastle homes decorated with lights and wreaths for the holiday.

"Look at the merry lights!" she said to her 3-year-old great grandson. "Oh, I just love Christmas."

Mace said she can scarcely remember a holiday that has not included a trip to Heritage Christmas for shopping and free cocoa.

As she nestled in under her blanket to let the cold air, with its faint hint of horse, carry a few snow flurries her way, she said this year was earning a special place in her memory.

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Despite all of her trips to the festival, Mace only just learned of the carriage rides when she saw an advertisement at a local restaurant.

"As soon as I saw there were carriage rides, I called in to reserve tickets," she said. "I love anything old-fashioned at Christmas, and this is perfect."

Old-fashioned is exactly the atmosphere Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Director Bill Gour said he aims for with the festival. Like a Currier & Ives painting, he said.

Rides in Kenny Egolf's horse-drawn carriages have been a popular part of Heritage Christmas's charm for years, so popular that Gour recommend purchasing tickets in advance.

The festival continues to grow with more vendors and more shops being open, which means more people, he said.

The turnout on Friday impressed Gour, who noted how many people came early.

Tia Coode and her stepdaughter, Ellie, drove from Martinsburg, W.Va., for some holiday shopping, and after a few minutes in the cold night air, were ready for the warmth offered in the shops.

"The first time I came to Heritage Christmas, there were people in period costume, so I was excited to come back," Coode said. "I love the small-town feel. It makes this a great place to bring your kids, but I think we are ready to shop."

While most of the crowd had headed either home or indoors by 8 p.m., including vendors who sold out of their goods, the lines for balloon animals and carriage rides stayed strong.

Heritage Christmas continues next Friday, Dec. 19, with carriage rides starting at 6 p.m.

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