Rain doesn't dampen tree-lighting festivities

November 21, 2011|By DAVE McMILLION |
  • Girls Inc. members Jadyra Fortson, left, 6, and Tureymar Camacho, 10, sing Monday night during the tree-lighting ceremony in Hagerstown's Public Square.
By Joe Crocetta/Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — A steady rain began falling Monday night as city officials prepared to light a 25-foot blue spruce tree in Hagerstown’s Public Square.

A crowd of people showed up despite the chilly weather, and umbrellas bobbed back and forth as people took advantage of hot popcorn, and free hot chocolate and cookies.

“By the way, it’s not raining. It’s just a heavy dew,” master of ceremonies Lou Scally told the crowd before the 6 p.m. lighting.

With the flip of a switch from Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and a group of Barbara Ingram School for the Arts students who helped decorate the tree, the blue spruce shone in the square to the cheers of onlookers.

The traditional tree lighting was followed by the 22nd annual Hollyfest, a holiday celebration at The Maryland Theatre that features performances by various youth groups.

Jason Fierro of Hagerstown stood in a steady rain for the tree lighting. It was the first time he attended the event.

Fierro said he saw the event listed in a calendar from The Herald-Mail and thought it would be fun to attend with his wife, Lauren, and her 4-year-old daughter.

Lauren said her Christmas spirit was already in high gear.

“After the October snow, I’m in the Christmas mode,” Lauren said as she held her daughter, Shyanne.

Bob Plume stood among the crowd of revelers, watching his son, Bobby, perform with students playing Christmas songs beneath a canopy. Bobby plays in the band at North Hagerstown High School.

“It’s a little wet,” Bob Plume said of the evening’s showers.

The tree-lighting event began at 5 p.m., and just before 6 p.m., a hay wagon pulled by a farm tractor rolled into town with Santa Claus on board. Santa slowly made his way through the crowd, greeting children as he inched toward the Christmas tree.

Every year, someone donates a tree, and this year’s blue spruce was donated by Harold and Joann Burger, said Karen Giffin, spokeswoman for the event.

The tree lighting was sponsored by Volvo Powertrain, and Bulls & Bears restaurant handed out cookies and hot chocolate, Giffin said.

Otterbein United Methodist Church provided popcorn and the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts Parents Guild offered face painting for children.

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