Amid the aroma of a wood fire where children roasted marshmallows for s'mores and chestnuts roasted in front of the library, Shepherdstown kicked off the holiday festivities Friday evening with stories, smiles and a visit from Santa.
German Street was closed to vehicle traffic as folks began to gather outside McMurran Hall in anticipation of the evening's events. Mrs. Claus, portrayed by Judy Shepherd, captured the attention of attendees with the reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas and The Night Before Christmas. The favorites had children captured and waiting for the turn of each page.
Throughout the crowd were characters from the Grinch including the "mean one" himself who mingled with townsfolk and visitors. Cindy Lou Who (aka Lori Robertson) was seen smiling and posing for many photos.
Mayor Jim Auxer welcomed all to the start of the town's Christmas celebration, spending time thanking everyone who helps put together the month-long celebrations. At the close of his remarks, the oohs and aahs were hard far and wide as the lights on the town's tree began to shine.
Just as Auxer completed his statements, children could be seen peering up German Street as the long-awaited man in red appeared in a horse-drawn carriage. Waving to all, he made his way up the steps ind into McMurran Hall where he visited with each child who wanted to make sure the old gentleman knew their wishes for Dec. 25.
While Santa was the culmination of the evening, other events were also taking place including the annual Chili Dinner hosted by the Shepherdstown Kiwanis Club. For the tenth year, the club served numerous types of chili to hungry folks who made their way inside the Community Club to enjoy the flavors.
Outside flavors included the s'mores and roasted chestnuts as well as delicious hot chocolate and other treats offered by a local 4-H club.
The celebration continues throughout the coming weeks as Dec. 25 approaches. The Community Club's Christmas Bazaar continues each weekend until Christmas offering delightful gift ideas for all. The Little House will be open for visitors and carriage rides available with weather permitting. The complete schedule of events is printed in today's paper and will continue to be updated throughout the coming weeks. Information can also be found at www.christmasinshepherdstown.com.