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Town readies for 250, Christmas celebrations

By Staff | Nov 25, 2011

Shepherdstown will herald in its 250th anniversary with presents, carolers and mistletoe as the festivities kick off in conjunction with Christmas in Shepherdstown this weekend.

Today, Nov. 25, Mayor Jim Auxer will officially kick of the celebration of the 250th anniversary, as well as welcome in the holiday season. The event will take place at 6 p.m. on McMurran lawn.

The 250th Anniversary Committee has worked for over a year on organizing the project, with more than 60 volunteers lending their services to make the yearlong celebration a reality.

“We wanted to get out and integrate every community event into the 250th anniversary,” said Chair of the Anniversary Marketing Committee Tara Sanders Lowe .

Lowe also said that it was important to get the community involved. Lowe said that this was very important to accomplish since planning a year’s worth of events would have been difficult for the small committee to do on its own.

The result of this effort is a year of events with an anniversary spin, starting with Christmas in Shepherdstown. Christmas activities will span the next two weekends, starting today. Before the official kick off, the Shepherdstown community club is holding a Christmas Bazaar in the War Memorial Building from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., which will continue through Sunday.

Other Christmas festivities will include Christmas carolers strolling the streets of town, horse-drawn carriage rides and even a visit from the Grinch. On Saturday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m., the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade will take place. To emphasize the collaboration between Christmas in Shepherdstown and the Shepherdstown 250 Committee, the parade will feature the same theme as the anniversary: Remember, Celebrate, Imagine.

Christmas events aren’t the only way the town is celebrating the anniversary this week. Members of the Trinity Episcopal Tuesday Craft Group are beginning work on a special 250th anniversary quilt. The planned 5-by-6-foot quilt is patterned after old community signature quilts. The quilt is expected to be presented at the 250th anniversary closing ceremony, which will take place Nov. 11, 2012.

The quilt will contain images of notable and historical town buildings as well as the signatures of nearly 1,000 Shepherdstown residents. Anyone who lives in or operates a business in Shepherdstown will have the opportunity to sign the quilt with a minimum donation of $5, though anyone who wishes to donate more is encouraged to do so by the group. Starting on Nov. 25, the quilting group will be collecting signatures at the Christmas Bazaar.

Upon completion, the quilt will hang in the Town Hall until construction of a new town library, where it will ultimately be on display.

According to the chair of the Signature Events Committee for the 250th anniversary, Peter Smith, the quilt idea came from resident Betty Lowe, who had a quilt her mother signed in the 1920s with other members of her community.

From there, the anniversary committee set out to make a design for the quilt. On Nov. 8, the mayor and the town council signed strips of cloth to go on the quilt, making them the first signatures.

“The quilt will be a wonderful memento for future generations that the town will long cherish,” Smith said.

Bringing together all of the different organizations involved with the anniversary came very naturally, according to the 250th anniversary committee chair, Meredith Wait.

Wait said that the committee had originally not planned on doing a yearlong event, but ultimately decided that since so much is always going on in town, integrating the anniversary would be a good fit.

Wait said that specific anniversary events would be woven into the Christmas festivities. One of these activities includes a comedy show on Nov. 25 at 9 p.m. at the Opera House. The comedy show will be a fundraiser for the anniversary celebrations. Then next weekend, the Jefferson Security Bank will sponsor an ice festival which will include 10 sculptures and a live presentation on Dec. 4.

Committee members and volunteers for both Christmas in Shepherdstown and the anniversary said that Wait’s involvement has been incredibly important for the yearlong celebration becoming a reality.

“Meredith has led up so many parts and pieces of (the anniversary) and has been such an inspiration She told a lot of people that if you love this town give back, and when she says it, you believe it,” Lowe said.

Wait herself admits that she wears several different hats in the project.

“We have just had a remarkable group of volunteers, and it has been a pleasure to work with them. I’ve never worked so hard in my life,” Wait said.

For more information, visit www.shepherdstown250.com.