For North Carroll community, Hampstead tree lighting ceremony 'puts you in the Christmas spirit'

The town of Hampstead held its annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Banner Display at Main Street Memorial Park in Hampstead Friday, Nov. 30, 2018.

HAMPSTEAD — Santa stood on the back of a firetruck as it made its way down Main Street in Hampstead, horns blasting.

The jolly man with the big, white beard waved as children looked on, their faces in awe. The firetruck turned into the town’s Main Street Memorial Park, and Santa stepped down and worked his way through the crowd before taking a spot at the front.


Santa counted down — ten, nine, eight, seven, six — as the crowd joined in — five, four, three two, one!

And with that, the park glowed as the tree, and decorations, flicked on, marking the beginning of the holiday season.


Hampstead’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Holiday Banner Display event brought out a crowd of people that filled the park and spilled onto the sidewalk on Friday evening. The night included Cub Scout Pack 791 singing Christmas carols, Spring Garden Elementary School’s fifth-grade Instrumental Ensemble performing holiday favorites and the Manchester Valley High Schools choir, in addition to the lights and visit from Santa.

For some, the night is about traditions.

Denise Kells, of Hampstead, said the tree lighting ceremony is an event she doesn’t miss.

“I’ve been here every year — 15 years,” she said.

Kells said she likes to come out, wait for Santa and see the lights come on. Simply put, she said, “It’s fun.”

“I like the music, I like listening to the kids sing and I like listening to them play,” she said. “My daughter had played in the band many years ago.”

Kells said the event has a small-town feel and is wholesome. “It’s just a nice way to kick off the season,” she added.

For others, Hampstead’s ceremony was a first.

Molly Seipp was out with her husband, Tyler, and daughter, 1-year-old Natalie. Seipp, of Manchester, said she thought the event would be good, and wanted to come out to see the lights, the tree and Santa.

The annual Holiday of Trees, Wreaths & Centerpieces celebration to benefit the Taneytown Heritage and Museum Association will be on display until Dec. 15.

This Christmas is especially fun, she said, because Natalie can really participate. This year, Seipp said, her daughter can open presents and even knows what Santa says.

And Hampstead’s tree lighting is the perfect way to get the season started.

“It just puts you in the Christmas spirit,” she added.


Upcoming holiday events in Carroll

All December, McDaniel College

5 to 9:30 p.m., Thursday through Sunday, Holiday Light Show: McDaniel College hosts a drive-in light display that is synchronized to music throughout the holiday season at Kenneth R. Gill Stadium (enter campus from West Main Street). The show is free and open to the public. This approximate 15-minute show features nearly 5,000 red, green and multicolored lights and is choreographed to holiday music, including “The Polar Express,” “Baby Please Come Home” by U2 and “Sleigh Ride” by the Boston Pops, as well as the Trans-Siberian Orchestra’s “Wizards in Winter.” Visitors can tune into 96.5 FM on their car radios to hear the music.

Dec. 1, Westminster

8:30 to 10:15 a.m., Christmas Camel Canter: This is the fifth annual Christmas Camel Canter 5K and Fun Run in the Village of Meadowcreek in Westminster, where St. Benjamin's Lutheran Church has had its 256-year-old ministry, since 1761. Registration is $25 per person, and this year's race is a fundraiser for The Shepherd's Staff community outreach in Westminster.

Dec. 2 and 9, Westminster TownMall

9 to 11 a.m., Santa Cares: Children within every spectrum of special needs and their families are invited to a private photo session to experience the time-honored tradition of a visit with Santa Claus during dedicated hours. Register on Eventbrite. Visits with Santa are free. Photo packages that capture holiday memories will be available for purchase at the event, pricing varies by location.

Dec. 2, Winfield Community Volunteer Fire Department

7 a.m to noon, Breakfast with Santa: Kids can tell Santa what they’d like for Christmas and have breakfast. Prices are $9 per adult, $5 for children ages 6 to 11, and free for children younger than 5. Breakfast menu includes: pancakes, eggs, bacon, sausage, sausage gravy, fried potatoes, meat pudding, hominy, biscuits, cooked apples, orange juice, milk and coffee.

Dec. 5, New Windsor

6 to 7 p.m., Christmas tree lighting: There will be refreshments after in the Community Meeting Room. Stay for the Town Council meeting that follows.

Dec. 7, Mount Airy

5:30 p.m., Christmas tree lighting: Christmas tree lighting and Santa photos on Main Street.

Dec. 8, Sykesville

Noon to 4 p.m., Merry Main Street: Make ornaments with Green Committee volunteers and Girls Scouts — including paper reindeer crowns, puzzle reindeer ornaments, salt dough ornaments, stick-and-yarn ornaments, and birdseed pine cones. Write a letter to Santa and listen to a Christmas story by Mrs. Claus! Donna Brocato Nomick will be playing the hammered dulcimer. This is a free event sponsored by the Downtown Sykesville Connection. Sweet Simplicitea is donating cupcakes to be decorated in the Sykesville Town House.

5 to 8 p.m., Santa’s Arrival on Main Street: Santa will ride down Main Street on a firetruck, make a stop at Centennial Fountain Park to help light the town Christmas tree, and then meet with children in the Caboose behind the post office. Bring your little ones to Main Street to wave at Santa as he passes, see all the festive decorations in and along the Main Street shops and on the tree, and give Santa their very important wish lists.

Dec. 8, Taneytown

5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Christmas tree lighting: The Taneytown tree lighting will be held at the Taneytown Police Station. The Relay For Life lumineria will begin at 5:30 p.m., and a surprise visitor will come at 6 p.m., with holiday songs performed by the Taneytown Elementary Chorus and Runneymede Elementary Chorus, and refreshments served by Silver Oak Academy.

Dec. 9, Eldersburg

Noon to 3 p.m., Whoville Grinchmas at A Time 2 Party: Second annual “who-liday” celebration with Grinchy-snacks, Whoville games and stocking gift card giveaways. Bring cameras to take photos with the Grinch.

Dec. 10, Carroll County government

5 p.m., Annual tree lighting ceremony: The official tree lighting ceremony will take place at the County Office Building on Center Street in Westminster. The ceremony, hosted by the commissioners, is made possible through the hard work and dedication of many county employees and the donations of community members. The ceremony will begin with a brief welcome by the commissioners followed by holiday songs performed by the Francis Scott Key Chamber Singers.

(Carroll County Government Facebook page)

Dec. 16, Mount Airy

9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Macaroni Kids second annual “Christmas in the Country”: Free, old-fashioned Christmas fun without all the bitter cold, including: pictures with Santa, live music, hot cocoa bar, Christmas cookies, ornaments, crafts and activities, cards for the troops, fun door prizes, plus an outdoor holiday hayride.


Dec. 16, Reese and Community Volunteer Fire Company

7 to 11 a.m., Breakfast with Santa: Prices are $8 per adult, $4 for children ages 6 to 12, and free for children younger than 5. Breakfast menu includes: eggs, pancakes, sausage, sausage gravy, hominy and pudding, fried potatoes, biscuits, baked apples, orange juice and coffee.

Dec. 16, Union Bridge

3 to 6 p.m., Christmas lessons, carols and live Nativity: Various choruses at St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church. Children's choir, bell choir and adult choir with featured soloists, duets and scholas as well as scripture readings by lectors. After the program, walk across the street to the parish center and enjoy cookies, coffee, hot chocolate and tea. Watch the live Nativity put on by parish youth. Program is free; please bring a plate of cookies or small finger food to share at the reception. All are welcome! For more information, call 301-898-5111.

Dec. 17 to 20, Westminster Volunteer Fire Department

6 p.m., Santa Run: Santa will be visiting various streets in Westminster. Santa will stop for a few minutes so that those who live on the side streets he is not traveling down can come up to see him. Advance notice as to where Santa is will be posted via Facebook. The maps and routes for Dec. 18, 19 and 20 will be released over the next few days.

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