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Smithsburg's Hometown Christmas a town tradition

Event offered parade, indoor and outdoor bazaars, and bluegrass gospel music

December 01, 2012|By ALICIA NOTARIANNI | alnotarianni@aol.com
  • Ruth Douglas of Linthicum Heights, Md., pauses to admire lights and decorations Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church during Smithsburg Hometown Christmas. She was visiting her daughter in Smithsburg.
By Kevin G. Gilbert, Staff Photographer

SMITHSBURG — Brittany Clopper stood in front of her childhood home in Smithsburg watching Santa parade by on an antique fire engine.

The 24-year-old, who now lives in Cascade with her husband, Ben, held her daughter, Remie, 2, in her arms.

“She wanted to see Santa,” Clopper said.

Clopper remembers watching parades pass her house as a girl and said it was nice to share the tradition with her own child.

“We still know a lot of people in the parade,” she said. “It’s a small-town thing.”

The parade featuring Old St. Nick was one part of the Smithsburg Hometown Christmas celebration Friday and Saturday at various locations throughout the town. The event kicked off Friday night at Veterans Park with horse and carriage rides, the music of carolers and a brass ensemble, and a tree lighting.

Tunya Pack, who moved to Smithsburg from Greencastle, Pa., six years ago, heads up the town’s planning committee for the celebration.

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“We are trying to get our own little version of Byron Park,” she said, referring to the extensive display of lights at Byron Memorial Park in Williamsport. Pack said the Smithsburg event was much smaller and quieter before its expansion and outreach to community members in recent years.

The Washington County Free Library in Smithsburg near Veterans Park offered a bookmobile and storytelling Friday night. On Saturday, area churches and businesses held craft and bake sales, and special events of all sorts.

The Vine Church hosted an open house Saturday and passed out popcorn, coffee and hot cocoa to passers-by. Youth leader Esther Fairall said it is important for the community to come together and celebrate.

“We are celebrating the season with the kids and sharing the love of Jesus in the community,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful that the town does this.”

Trinity Lutheran Church staged a live nativity complete with live musical accompaniment and a donkey.

Julie Rummell had three children participating in the event. Sean, 13, was the innkeeper, Logan, 12, was a shepherd, and Makayla, 8, was an angel.

“The church is reaching out to the community and sharing the important message that Christmas is about Christ, not the commercial greed that is sometimes presented with the holiday,” she said.

People shopped at indoor and outdoor bazaars, and stopped to listen to the music of bluegrass gospel group Little Sister Band on the street. Children lined up for fire engine rides at the Smithsburg Community Volunteer Fire Co.

Christina Kline, 22, said she and her family recently moved to Smithsburg from Hagerstown and didn’t know about the Christmas celebration. They were watching movies around noon Saturday when they heard a commotion, looked out the window and saw the parade going on. Kline’s daughter, Maleah Mason, 3, was thrilled.

“I saw Santa Claus, and he was riding on a fire engine, and I got candy,” Maleah said.

Matthew Himes, 34, who also recently moved to Smithsburg, went to the parade with his wife, Misty, 29, and their daughters, Danielle, 6, and Sara, 4.

“It makes it feel like Christmas,” he said.

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