Several hundred spectators visit the historic Springfield Barn for the Charlie Brown Christmas

December 03, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Springfield Barn in Wiillamsport is decorated for the holidays as it was the site of the Charlie Brown Christmas and Reindeer in the Rafters event on Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

WILLIAMSPORT, Md. — The historic Springfield Barn in Williamsport evolved into a festival of lights Saturday afternoon as the third annual Charlie Brown Christmas opened to several hundred spectators.

Tearza Knode, event co-chair, said she and her mother-in-law, Joan Knode, started the free event three years ago as a way to ring in the Christmas holiday.

"It's not a money maker. No one's benefiting from it," Tearza Knode said. "It's just really to spread the spirit of Christmas through our community."

Charlie Brown Christmas has grown from an exhibition of 35 decorated Christmas trees in the inaugural year to 78 trees this year. There also were reindeer in the rafters and a giant talking bear that sang songs as people walked by.

Springfield Middle School students sang and danced, and people drank hot chocolate that was offered by volunteers behind a counter.

Knode said she estimated that the event would draw "thousands" of people from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

The staging of the event is a shared effort, she said. The town of Williamsport pays the cost of electricity and numerous businesses and community organizations adopted trees to decorate.

"There are no trees put together the same way," Knode said. "Every tree is unique."

Halfway resident Stanley Reed said he brought his 13-year-old son, Austin, and 14-year-old daughter, Laura, to the event as a way to do something together as a family.

"I love it," Stanley Reed said. "It's just family-oriented. That kind of thing is almost a thing of the past anymore."

Megan Siebeneichen, 16, attended Charlie Brown Christmas with a few of her classmates from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts, Toby Frevert and Amber Jacobus.

The trio said the holiday gala gave them a chance to do something different on the weekend.

"I just like to come look at the trees," Siebeneichen said. "I think it's good that people spend their own money just to decorate for other people's enjoyment."


If you go

What: Charlie Brown Christmas
When: Today, 5 to 8 p.m.; Dec. 6, noon to 5 p.m.; Dec. 10 and 11, 5 to 8 p.m.
Where: Springfield Barn, Byron Memorial Park, Williamsport

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