Smithsburg Hometown Christmas radiates warm hearts and a welcoming spirit

December 03, 2011|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI |
  • Marilyn Hembrock of Boonsboro makes gingerbread houses during Smithsburg's Hometown Christmas on Saturday.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG, Md. — Smithsburg is not situated in a speckle on a snowflake.

Its residents are not furry humanoids with canine snouts and 12 toes. And there are no confirmed reports of a cave-dwelling grinch living atop the town's mountains.

Still, Smithsburg resident Terri Cohen said people refer to the town as "Whoville" at Christmas time.

Perhaps that's because during the holiday season, the people of Smithsburg radiate warm hearts and a welcoming spirit like the Whos of Dr. Seuss' well-known fictional town.

"Look around. It's such a close-knit town," Cohen said at Smithsburg Hometown Christmas. "There is a small town mentality. Everybody knows everybody."

The celebration kicked off Friday night with a tree lighting ceremony in Veterans Park and continued throughout the day Saturday. Activities included a Santa Claus Pancake Breakfast at Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co., a parade through town at noon and a Children's Christmas Party at the fire hall later in the day.

Hometown Christmas is sponsored by the town and the Smithsburg Community Activities Commission. While the event is a longtime tradition, commission member Tonya Huff said this year's celebration was enhanced by greater participation of churches and businesses.

"We are trying to promote community and get the whole town involved, to bring everybody out," Huff said.

Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church hosted a bazaar and a live nativity scene. St. Paul's United Methodist held a canned food drive, and other churches had open houses. The Vine on town square offered free hot cider, cookies and popcorn.

"I love to see the smiles, hear the laughter, the fun, and just enjoy time together," said Melissa Varner, pastor at The Vine.

Jesse Bell, who owns J&B Trains, also on the square, said the event drums up business.

"This is quite fun. We got a lot of attention out of it," he said.

Kelli Davis of Smithsburg went to the parade with her daughter Ashley and her niece Kylie. Her other daughter, Sydney, played clarinet with the Smithsburg Middle School Band. The group sported Santa hats and played "Jolly Old St. Nicholas."

"This gets you in the Christmas spirit," Davis said. "It's good to enjoy some community living in a nice little town."

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