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Parade shows Hancock in Motion

December 12, 2009|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI

HANCOCK -- Santa Claus is coming to town.

But perhaps more important to Hancock residents is that activity and vitality seem to be coming, too.

People who live in Hancock and the surrounding area sent a clear message Saturday morning that they are ready for all of the above.

Hancock Town Councilman Tim Smith is president of Hancock in Motion, a nonprofit organization sanctioned under the town to bring people and events to Hancock.

"We want people to know this small town has a lot to offer," Smith said. "We are kind of at the end of the Washington County line. When you are up this far, we have to be careful so people don't forget about us."

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Toward that end, members of Hancock in Motion hope to coordinate a meaningful community event each month. This month, they focused on the obvious -- Christmas.

"My wife and I were thinking, 'What can we do for the people that's cheap and affordable, and would help bring people out to our town?' This came to mind," Smith said.

"This" being the arrival of Santa Claus on his sleigh in a town parade, followed by a craft fair at the town's community center, then a drive-through tour of luminarias lighted in honor of veterans through Widmeyer Park down to the park's Veterans Memorial.

A couple of floats, the Hancock Middle-Senior High School band and chorus, and Santa on his sleigh comprised the early morning parade. About 80 people stood along the street as the procession passed from the Park-N-Dine restaurant on East Main Street onto Pennsylvania Avenue before concluding at Hancock Town Hall.

Olivia Farris, 7, of Hancock, rode with Santa on his sleigh, staying warm in a fur stole and hand muff. As she climbed down from her perch, Olivia recounted her conversation with Santa.

"We talked about my presents," Olivia said. "I told him I want a Littlest Pet Shop, an I Spy and I don't know what else."

The Hancock Lions Club had a float in the parade. Club President Frank Stotler said the event was a step in the right direction for the town.

"In past years, you'd look around town and see closed storefronts. Now, things are starting to come back. People are getting excited," Stotler said. "For the first year of the parade, this was very nice. People were very receptive and I'm sure everyone will build on it."

Following the parade, people headed inside Town Hall to the Hancock Community Center. More than 20 craft vendors sold their wares. Town residents served drinks and goodies and Santa talked to young children.

Catherine Coffman, 29, of Hancock, attended the event with her children, Matthew, 3, and Christopher, 9, and her mother-in-law, Doris Coffman.

"We enjoyed seeing all of this going on in Hancock," Catherine Coffman said. "Hopefully, they'll add more each year as it comes. It's nice to finally see some stuff come to Hancock that people can do, especially around Christmas."

Becca Thomas, 27, and her fiance, Chris Shoemaker, 36, said they both were born and raised in Hancock.

"It is so nice to have something to come out to. This is a great beginning. Now, let's expand on this," Thomas said. "If they have it, we will come."

Linda Smith, a member of Hancock in Motion, estimated about 400 people participated in the festivities by noon. Smith said she was encouraged, and anticipated a lot of people would come out to see the luminarias later in the day.

"We're expecting a huge turnout," she said.

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