Light up nights planned throughout Somerset County
Here are light up events in Meyersdale, Somerset and Confluence on Saturday:
Somerset expanding Light Up Somerset
Light Up Somerset night is the biggest it’s ever been this year.
Somerset Inc. Executive Director Regina Coughenour said the group is hoping to expand on last year’s success to bring new family activities to Somerset Borough.
“Last year we did the most activities by far,” Coughenour said. “We had 2,500 plus people show up.”
New this year is an art scholarship program for county high schools, that includes a contest for school-crafted decorations. Coughenour said that six schools are participating this year and have constructed the outdoor decorations.
She said the decorations are to be displayed on the diamond Uptown for one week, and are to be voted on by visitors at Somerset Inc.’s website.
The winning school will get a $1,000 scholarship for its art program, and the decorations are to go back to their communities to be displayed for years to come, she said.
“Just really cool decorations from the high school students,” she said. “I’m just super excited to see how beautiful they make the community.”
There will also be barrel-tractor and horse-drawn wagon rides, characters from Disney’s “Frozen,” live music and adult drink options at Bella’s, something new. A live Nativity scene by Somerset Alliance Church will also be set up in the Somerset Anglican Fellowship Church parking lot along East Union Street. A food and blanket collection will be held at Somerset Alliance Church, with donations going to local charitable causes.
Coughenour said that aside from some food and beverage costs, everything is free.
The night culminates with Santa Claus arriving at the Somerset County Courthouse at about 6 p.m. to light the community Christmas tree.
“We really tried to offer everything free,” she said. “This is our invitation to the community to celebrate the season.”
Three groups work together for event
Daily American Correspondent
Three Meyersdale groups are coming together to make this year’s Helen Caton Light-Up Night a spectacular event on Saturday with a holiday shopping experience starting Friday evening.
The Pa. Maple Festival, Meyersdale Area Merchants Association (MAMA) and Meyersdale Parks and Recreation are joining together to make this an unforgettable weekend celebration.
“Everyone is doing their part and it is coming together to make a real special holiday celebration for the whole community,” said Susie Decker, treasurer on the board for the Maple Festival.
Christmas at the Manor was held years ago but has now been restructured so these three groups are joining forces to do one event together, said Decker. She said the idea came from the Maple Manor being decorated for Christmas for this past spring’s Maple Festival so plans began in May for the Christmas event.
In addition to Decker, other festival volunteers for this event are Julie Kretchman, Madolin Edwards, Amy Kretchman, Kelly Knotts and Aileen Reiber.
On both Friday and Saturday, there will be festivities in Festival Park.
From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Christmas at the Manor will come alive for tours with over 400 luminaries, live greens and traditional decorations.
On Friday it is a shopping experience only in the park as several vendors showcase their wares, while carolers and Sons of Union Veterans Camp 502 Civil War re-enactment group will complete the atmosphere. The Country Store will be open both Friday and Saturday and the vendors and Civil War re-enactors will return for Saturday.
Maple Manor tours will be held throughout the weekend.
Then, the park will reopen from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday with a full-day schedule.
Santa’s Workshop will be open from 1 to 8 p.m. Saturday in the Sugar Shack with games and activities for ages 2 to 12. Then, ages 13 to 18 will be able to go on a Twelve Days of Christmas scavenger hunt in the park. Members of MAMA and parks and recreation will be conducting the children’s activities up until 5 p.m., just prior to Santa’s arrival at 6 p.m.
Santa and Mrs. Claus (Paul and Terrie Werner) will start out at the fire hall on a fire truck and make their way to the entrance of the Maple Festival at 6 p.m. for Helen Caton’s Light-Up Night and the lighting of the tree in festival park.
Mike Petenbrink, a local photographer, will be available to take photographs of kids with Santa. Plus, there will be a roaring fire in the old-fashioned fireplace in the Sugar Shack.
“It is wonderful we are doing this together because it makes it so much more community minded,” said Julie Kreger, president of MAMA, who explained that MAMA is overseeing children’s games from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday and supplying baked goods for the Country Store and cash prizes for the games.
Like Decker and Kreger, Charlene Klink of Parks and Rec couldn’t agree more.
“We in parks and rec are excited to be a part of this celebration because it’s all about the kids and their families having a memorable time,” concluded Klink, who explained that parks and rec is overseeing games from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Sugar Shack.
Confluence preparing for annual light up-night
Daily American Correspondent
Christmas is a time to celebrate family, friends and community.
Confluence will usher in the season with it’s eighth annual Light-Up Night, scheduled for Saturday.
The festivities begin at 5 p.m. at the Confluence Volunteer Fire Department Ssocial hall. People can enjoy a roast beef dinner and all the fixings, including green beans, mashed potatoes and dessert. The cost is $8, with all proceeds going to the Confluence Volunteer Fire Department.
Confluence Volunteer Fire Department chief Tom Close, Jr., said that the proceeds will go toward daily operating expenses.
After dinner, Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive promptly at 7 p.m. via fire truck. One lucky youngster will be selected to throw the switch that will light up the gazebo. All of the businesses in the town square will be decorated for the holidays.
Louise Close, who helps with the dinner, said that helping with Light-Up Night is an opportunity to give to the younger generation the holiday memories she didn’t have during her childhood.
“It’s for the kids,” she said. “It’s all about giving back to the community.”
Mike Sarver, of Confluence Hardware, relishes preserving this small town tradition.
“Small towns are fading by the wayside,” he said. “It’s good to have events like this. People look forward to it. It makes people proud to be a part of the town. It encourages young people to stay.”
He also believes that community events bring business and tourism to the community.
The borough received a donation from Johnny and Nancy Tressler to purchase new decorations for the town.
Donna Graham, president of the Confluence Tourism Association, said that Light-Up Night is a beautiful community event that brings people together.
Free hot chocolate and cookies will be available at the Confluence Community Center.
Local boy scouts will establish camp fires around the square.