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Holiday season kicks off in Emmitsburg

Stephanie Long
Emmitsburg Dispatch

(12/6) Just as the clock struck 6 p.m. on Dec. 3 and snowflakes gently began falling to the earth, a large group of people gathered together in front of the Emmitsburg Community Center to witness the annual tree-lighting ceremony and kick off the evenings festivities.

It was the town’s official kick off of the holiday season and the 19th annual “Evening of Christmas Spirit” event.

Kurstin Metz, a sixth grader from Emmitsburg, was one of those who braved the frigid temperatures to witness the tree-lighting ceremony. As a first-year attendee, Metz said she was looking forward to spending the evening with friends and seeing the tree lighting ceremony for two reasons.

“It looks cool and exciting,” Metz said.

Her friend, and seasoned attendee, Joy Jullian, also from Emmitsburg and in the sixth grade, said she enjoys coming to the event every year to see the big tree and participate in all of the evening’s activities, especially the festivities at The Carriage House Inn.

Emmitsburg Mayor James Hoover got the evening started with the tree lighting, which was followed by the singing of a few carols. But it didn’t take long before the singing ended and the festivities moved to a warmer location at The Carriage House Inn.

Barrel fires set up in the parking lot of The Carriage House Inn made the evening seem a bit less frigid as people took in the live nativity, petted the sheep and grabbed a free hot dog and cup of hot cocoa before heading inside The Carriage House Inn to munch on sweets and listen to the various choirs sing Christmas music.

Hoover, who attended the event with his family, said the evenings festivities, especially the choir performances, are what small towns are all about and what he enjoys about living in Emmitsburg.

“It really shows so much of a community coming together,” Hoover said. “With different people and groups, it creates such a great night and an opportunity to socialize.”

Hoover also expressed his desire for the younger generations to get involved in activities like the “Evening of Christmas Spirit” to ensure that such events continue in the future.

“It’s important to get the kids out; if they’re not interested then it will end,” Hoover said.

Plenty of kids seemed interested in the Lions Clubs annual Christmas party held on Dec. 1, which welcomed dozens of children and their families to participate in various holiday activities from face painting to ornament decorating. Held at the Vigilant Hose Company, a magic show performed by Khan-Du & Company provided entertainment prior to the big event of the day- the arrival of Santa Claus.

Lions Club member Joe Ritz said the event had been held for well over 75 years, and “is a time-honored tradition” in Emmitsburg that exemplifies the Lions Club motto: “We Serve.”

“This is a team effort,” Ritz said. “This is a delightful turn out… we’re already thinking about next year.”

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