Christmas arrives in Shepherdstown: Annual tree lighting event draws crowds despite cold
SHEPHERDSTOWN — The Shepherdstown community once again gathered together on the Friday evening after Thanksgiving, to welcome in the Christmas season with the town’s annual tree lighting event.
Hundreds gathered outside McMurran Hall for the annual reading of “The Night Before Christmas” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” as well as the lighting of the town’s Christmas tree.
Reading the traditional stories was Mrs. Claus, also known as Judy Shepherd, who continues to ensure the holiday event takes place in grand style.
“This story is for your parents,” Mrs. Claus told the children gathered around her, as she read “The Night Before Christmas.”
She followed with reading “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” as community members acted out the story, dressed as characters from the story, including Whoville residents such as Cindy Lou Who. The steps of McMurran Hall were packed with young faces, listening carefully to the stories as they anxiously awaited the arrival of Santa Claus with the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department.
Prior to Santa’s arrival, Mayor Jim Auxer welcomed the crowd of community members, Shepherd University students and visitors to Shepherdstown for the evening. According to Auxer, the townspeople are a family who make the town what it is.
“Let us gather to take a respite from the negativity in the world,” Auxer said. “It is here in Shepherdstown that we come together for the common good, with the desire to help all creatures great and small.”
Members of the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department monitored a fire outside of McMurran Hall, providing s’mores kits for those who wished to participate in creating and eating the gooey treat.
“We came prepared with 300 of the kits,” said SVFD Treasurer Denny Barron.
The chill in the air encouraged many people to gather around the fire, before moving among their friends and neighbors to share holiday cheer.
Across the street from the bonfire, hot chocolate and cookies were available from members of Jefferson High School’s Key, working in conjunction with the Shepherdstown Kiwanis Club. Chestnuts roasted on the open fire outside the library as well, manned by Kiwanian Terry Walker.
Holiday events continue throughout the month of December, with the annual Christmas parade beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday. For a complete holiday schedule of events, visit the Shepherdstown Visitor’s Center website at www.shepherdstown.infor, or call 304-876-2786.