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Hagerstown Public Square brightens as tree is illuminated

November 23, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Downtown Hagerstown has been spruced up as Christmas approaches.

The 30-foot blue spruce in Public Square was donated by Vicki Shirley.

After master of ceremonies Lou Scally's "3-2-1" countdown, Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Michael T. Thorsen, principal of the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, flicked a switch Monday to turn on the tree's lights for the season.

The silver-and-blue glow from the tree and the red-and-gold-wrapped light poles along the sidewalks left the downtown bright and festive, despite a moderate rain.

Volunteers and students did their best to keep people focused on yuletide rather than the weather.

Hot chocolate and refreshments were served under an awning.

Musicians from North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown high schools and Girls Inc. were among those who performed.

When the ceremony was over, small children beelined to a man dressed as Santa Claus to shake his hand or hug him.

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From there, the festivities moved inside.

Each year, Hollyfest, a free variety show at The Maryland Theatre, follows the tree lighting. Children in school and community groups perform.

On Monday, Smithsburg High School musicians played a modified version of The Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

Next, a girls' musical theater ensemble from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts sang and danced to "Santa Baby."

The Williamsport High School orchestra followed with "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and other holiday favorites.

Several other groups filled out the evening's entertainment.

This was the 20th annual Hollyfest.

The city of Hagerstown sponsored Monday's event, along with Antietam Cable Television/Disney, Holcim US and M&T Bank.

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