Christmastime arrives for Berryville residents

Posted: December 1, 2012

The Winchester Star

Haley Foltz, 3, of Clarke County receives a boost to her father Wayne’s shoulders so she can have a better view of the Berryville Christmas tree during the lighting ceremony Friday evening in Rose Hill Park. (Photo by Jeff Taylor/The Winchester Star)
Allie Lynch, 4, of Berryville flips the switch that turns on the town's Christmas tree lights during the lighting ceremony Friday night.
ABOVE: Berryville residents Sarah Thompson (left), 13, and Madison McLean, 12, pause to look at the town’s Christmas tree.
LEFT: Clarke County Community Band members Hannah Coumes of Berryville and Nicholas Gekoskie of Winchester definitely have the holiday spirit as they play during the festivities Friday night in Rose Hill Park.
TOP LEFT: Candy Shockley (left, in hat) of Daytona Beach, Fla., listens to members of the Clarke County High School Choir perform with her friends Rick and Julie Kerby of Berryville during the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

BERRYVILLE

Christmas officially came to town Friday night with the annual lighting of the holiday tree. Several hundred people from a community of about 4,000 residents braved temperatures in the 30s to watch the simple ceremony in Rose Hill Park.

Huddled in their coats and blankets, residents chatted, listened to live music and waited for Mayor Wilson Kirby to flip the switch to turn on the lights on the massive tree.

Before he called a few children up to help him do the honors, Kirby shared his pride in Berryville’s annual tradition. He especially emphasized the town’s observance of the religious meaning of Christmas.

“To me, it is a time to worship the king,” he said.

The Clarke County Community Band and a new student community choir kept spectators entertained during the wait with carols such as “Joy to the World,” “Jolly Old St. Nicholas” and “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

When the lights came on, the band broke into “Oh Christmas Tree.”

Although she has lived in Berryville all her life, this was the first year Kristin Foltz has attended the ceremony. She and her husband Wayne brought their children out to hear the music and see the lights.

Haley, 3, and Joshua, 1, liked the music — “They were enthralled by the band” — but Foltz was most impressed by the number of people celebrating together.

She said the event was a great way to begin the holiday season and that her family would be back downtown today to watch the Christmas Parade, which will begin at noon.

Another first-timer, Kitty Crosby of Stephens City, also loved the small-town community gathering. She came to hear her daughter, 16-year-old Andi, play in the band, but also enjoyed the holiday spirit.

The only thing she didn’t like was the nip in the air.

“I am from Alabama, so it is cold for me,” she said with a laugh, pulling a blanket tighter around her.

After the ceremony, many of the attendees capped the festivities by heading to the Barns of Rose Hill to see Santa Claus and snack on punch and cookies.

— Contact Laura McFarland at lmcfarland@winchesterstar.com