A soft glow and Christmas carols fill the night during Funkstown's Olde Tyme Christmas festival

December 09, 2011|By HEATHER KEELS |
  • Don and Cheryl Obitts, members of St. Paul's Church in Funkstown, dress in historic period costume to greet people outside the church, Friday during Funkstown's Olde Tyme Christmas.
By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer

Luminaria cast a soft glow along the sidewalks and Christmas carols filled the night air as hundreds of residents and visitors strolled through Funkstown's Olde Tyme Christmas festival Friday night.

At the center of the event was the Funkstown Town Hall, where a constant stream of people poured through the doors to enter raffles, enjoy hot chocolate and hear performances by young guitar players, pianists and band members.

"It's gone crazy tonight," co-organizer Rose Gaver said of the crowd. "In the first hour, I've never seen so many people come here. It's just been bonkers."

Her husband and co-organizer, Rich Gaver, described the event as an opportunity for couples and families to enjoy the holiday season without spending a lot of money.

"We like to sell it as 'date night,'" he said. "Bring your wife, visit the shops, buy her dinner and have a good time, and not break the piggybank so you have plenty of money for Christmas."

In addition to the events at Town Hall, other attractions included refreshments and a hand-bell choir performance at St. Paul's Lutheran Church, living nativity scenes, a dinner and craft show in the town fire hall, extended hours at town shops, and elaborate decorations on homes and buildings throughout the town.

And, for the first time, local Cub Scouts held activities in the park, including a Yule log fire, singing and popcorn, Rose Garver said.

"I love festivals like this," said Wendy Welsh of Hagerstown as she browsed a jewelry craft booth with her daughters.

Welsh said this was the first year she had been to Funkstown Olde Tyme Christmas because in previous years, the night of the event has been either rainy or extremely cold.

"We got lucky this year," Irene Owens said of the clear, mild weather.

Owens cross-stitched a Christmas picture to be auctioned at the event.

While several event organizers dressed up in long skirts and top hats for the event, others went even further into the past, participating in two separate living nativity scenes.

Judy Osborn of Hagerstown held the leash of a friendly sheep at one of the scenes, while children stopped to pet the sheep and look at the nativity.

"This is the reason for the season for us, and it's a good opportunity for people to get, I think, a real picture of what it may have been sort of like," Osborn said.

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