Downtown In the News / Lifestyle

Holidays on Main Street in Daily News-Record

From the Daily News Record 12/08/08

Ringing In The Holidays
By Jeremy Hunt

HARRISONBURG – Makayla Tingler sat on Santa’s lap and told him what she wanted for Christmas. But he wasn’t the red-suited Yuletide character the 4-year-old really wanted to see Saturday evening.

“They wanted to see the Grinch, not so much Santa,” Makayla’s mother Tabitha Tingler said.

Makayla, her sister Charity, 12, and their cousin Montana Tingler, 8, got to see the Dr. Seuss’ mischievous, Christmas-stealing character at Bank of America, where he was posing for pictures, as well as Santa Claus.

The Tinglers joined other families at Court Square Saturday night for “Holidays on Main Street,” the annual Christmas celebration hosted by Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance.

They took a ride around Court Square on a horse-drawn carriage and played in the snow, which Massanutten Resort made the previous night when it became clear Mother Nature wasn’t inclined to provide the white stuff herself.

About 300 people braved the cold to attend the event, which saw temperatures drop into the 20s.

Around The Square

Carolers from the Harrisonburg Re-enactors Guild wandered around downtown singing holiday favorites.

They even collaborated with the Spectrum Teen Handbell Ensemble from Massanutten Presbyterian Church for a rendition of “Silent Night.”

The ensemble risked cracking their brass handbells because it was so cold Saturday night, they said.

The bells survived, though, and the ringers said it was worth playing in the frigid temperatures.

“It’s cool to play for an audience,” said Jane Haines, 12, of Harrisonburg.

HDR announced the winner of its first annual downtown poster contest Saturday before Mayor Rodney Eagle lit the Christmas tree.

A screen print by Emily Street, a James Madison University senior, topped about 25 entries from local college students.

The poster features prominent downtown buildings, including 1st Presbyterian Church and Kline’s Dairy Bar, Street said.

“I’ve always liked to draw buildings,” she said. “It’s just very exciting to win.”

Before lighting the tree, Eagle asked those in attendance to remember what the season is about.

“Let’s look out for our neighbors and friends,” he said.

A Warm Spirit

The Harrisonburg Salvation Army had a food drive at the event and collected about 600 cans of non-perishables, said Duane Burleigh, the local chapter’s captain.

“That will keep us up and going for probably three or four weeks,” he said of the army’s food pantry.

The Salvation Army, along with other local food charities, has had a tough year with more people than ever asking for help to keep food on the table.

James “Bucky” Berry, owner of Berry’s Lawn Service, helped organize the food drive and put up fliers for it around town.

Said Berry: “If I’m out here helping somebody, it’s cold but my spirit is warm.”

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