The Baltimore Sun

Thanks to helpers at tree-lighting fete

The night of Dec. 2 was truly magical as I am sure nearly 150 people came together to celebrate the spirit of the season at the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Visit from Santa Claus at the Edgewood Farmers Market Pole Barn. It was festively decorated and bedecked in red bows and green garland with the sounds of Christmas carols in the air.

Sponsored by our group, the Edgewood Alliance, we had a fun-filled evening of special speakers, a tree lighting, visit from Santa, and caroling. Hot chocolate, coffee, hot tea, cookies, cupcakes, and more were served up by the gentlemen of the Edgewood Lions Club. Our hats go off to them as they quickly served cups of hot chocolate, coffee, cider, and punch to the crowd.

The evening then began with an introduction by me, with speakers Bob Thomas, Dion Guthrie, Dan Riley and Sheriff Bane, who encouraged the crowd to chant "hip, hip, hooray for Santa." All welcomed the group and spoke of the exciting and encouraging things going on in our community.

Next up, Bill Fritz of Mountain Christian Church led the crowd in the carols, "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" and "Jingle Bells." Bill held the microphone low so the kids could be heard singing "Jingle Bells." The Abingdon Fire Department arrived with one of their engines and an ambulance, which added to the festive atmosphere.

The group then gathered close to the Christmas tree, dedicated to Derald Guess' memory. The tree was sparkling with lights, filled with presents underneath, resplendent in red and gold ornaments - some as large as a soccer ball, and topped with a bright star.

After a blessing offered by Dion, Michelle Guess and her extended family lit the tree and again a round of applause and cheers rang out. After the tree lighting, Bill led us in renditions of the "Christmas Song" and "Here Comes Santa Clause."

When Santa seemed to be taking his time - maybe he got caught in a crosswind - to get there, Bill quickly jumped in and got the crowd singing "Here Comes Santa Claus" and shouting "Santa, Santa, Santa." Santa and his elves arrived in a gleaming new red convertible Toyota Solara and were guided to his special chair surrounded by presents and backed by twinkling holiday lights.

He then patiently greeted each and every child, quickly setting them on his lap, and talking and laughing with them. The elves handed out gifts to each child - 85 in all. Those of us close by to hear and observe were in awe of his conversation with each child. Christmas carols played in the background and folks milled about enjoying refreshments, the Christmas tree, and each others' company. The evening wound down just before 8 p.m. as the last family left for the evening and Santa and his elves headed back to the North Pole.

My special thanks to Edgewood Alliance members and volunteers who turned out to make the event such a success ... you each have the holiday spirit and commitment to our community. Thanks go out to those who donated items, to our speakers and of course a special heartfelt thankyou to Michelle Guess and her family.

Again, thanks to all who helped make the evening such a success.

Alan S. Doran,

Edgewood Alliance president

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