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Martinsburg tree lighting kicks off new tradition

More than 500 people attended the celebration and sang along with holiday music

November 30, 2012|By TRISH RUDDER | trishr@herald-mail.com
  • People gather Friday night for the Christmas tree lighting in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A new tradition began Friday night when the Christmas tree lighting ceremony was held for the first time in the new town square on King Street.

The 20-foot Norway Spruce twinkled with multi-colored lights and was topped with a gold star. 

Randy Lewis, director of Main Street Martinsburg, the organization’s sponsor, said the Home for the Holidays Downtown event kicks off the holiday celebrations in town.

The event “is totally for the community,” Main Street Martinsburg president Nancy Ferner said.

More than 500 people attended the celebration and danced and sang along with holiday music while waiting for Santa Claus to arrive.

Carmen Waddell, 7, said the best part of the ceremony was the countdown before the tree was lighted.

Martinsburg residents Cheryl and Charles Waddell said this year was the first time they attended the tree lighting.

Free cookies, hot chocolate and cookie cutters were available at the Berkeley County Public Library.

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Kelly Tanksley, the library’s director of development, said about 200 dozen cookies were made by library board members and staff.

“This is our way to give back to our community,” said Carolyn Leparini, who came up with the free cookies, hot chocolate and cookie cutter idea eight years ago.

Until this year, the tree lighting was held at the library’s plaza.

Martinsburg resident Ann Jacobs attended with her grandchildren Gracie, 4 and Chase, 8. She said she’s been attending the tree lighting since her grandson was a baby and wants them to part of the town’s celebrations.

“I take my grandchildren to all town activities,” she said. They both will participate in the City of Martinsburg parade.

Chloe Shook, 9, and Nick Shook, 8, of Hedgesville, W.Va., attended the ceremony with their mother, Rebecca Shook. Chloe and Nick both said the best part of the Christmas tree was the gold star.

“It was exciting to see it lit,” Nick said.

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