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Open houses, parade highlight Christmas in Clear Spring

Open houses, parade highlight Christmas in Clear Spring

CLEAR SPRING — Belle Stottlemyer and other organizers for Christmas in Clear Spring are hoping the weather outside is anything but frightful on Saturday, Dec. 9, for the triennial event.

Saturday evening’s forecast calls for clear skies with a low of 26 degrees, which would make for fair, albeit cold, weather for the sixth event. “There was only one year that we had snow and ice and we had arranged to have the sidewalks cleared, but everything was still pretty tricky. The other years have all been great as far as the weather goes,” Stottlemyer said.

The event began as a program of the Clear Spring Garden Club. 

“We just decided it would be like a gift to the community. And one of our original four founders, Kathleen King, thought of this whole idea. And she wanted it to be an old-fashioned kind of Christmas. So that things would be free, and family oriented,”  Stottlemyer said.

Garden Club members strive to add to the event each time it’s held. 

“We’ve talked about it after it was over, planning for the next one and things we can add to make it interesting or better,” she said. When the event was held in 2014, local artisans were featured at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. More vendors are planned for this year, with the market opening up at 4 p.m. 

New this year for Christmas in Clear Spring is a parade that begins at 3 p.m. at Clear Spring High School, 12630 Broadfording Road, and moves eastward to Donald E. Thompson Funeral Home Inc., 13607 National Pike. 

The annual Clear Spring Lions Club chicken and waffle dinner gets an earlier start. 

“The Lion’s Club moved their dinner to 3 p.m., which is a little sooner so people can do that before they do all the other things, and a lot of people like to fit everything in,” she said. 

Santa Claus has been moved from Town Hall to Brown’s Meeting House because of a new display at Town Hall. 

“The historical society will have over 100 photos of Clear Spring then and now. So they will have plenty of things that will be able to be seen,” Stottlemyer said. 

Other activities include luminaries at Mt. Calvary Church of God and some open houses. 

“One of them will be downtown, and it was one of the homes that was flooded. And so they will have photographs, then and now, since it’s been redone. And like (2014) that was at the time of the flood so we felt that Clear Spring that year was uplifting after the tragedy that has occurred and all the spirit that went into helping get things back to the way they are supposed to be,” she said.

Cheryl and Tom Brumbaugh will give away a homemade ornament at their door. “We haven’t had that before,” Stottlemyer said.

She also said Children can stop by L.P. Snyder Memorial Library to get creative. 

“We’re grateful that our local library will again have an ornament that children and youth can make in the community room and then in the main room, people can get free punch and cookies.” 

St. Michael’s Catholic Church will host music and members will offer free hot chocolate and cookies next door at their Parish House. 

Stottlemyer added that activities related to Christmas in Clear Spring are not occurring only in the town limits. 

“That’s becoming more of a community effort together because every year Plumb Grove does their (open house) so they now do it the same time we do ours, and Dollie’s Tea Room has been open every year with an open house. And then Wilson’s Store and Bittersweet Memories (east of Clear Spring) joins in too as people are coming to Clear Spring.”

Free samples of tea will be available at Dollie’s Tea Room and free hot dogs will be served in the facility’s summer kitchen.

Another vendor, Vintage Heart, who was previously set up in Dollie’s Tea Room, will be in a different building with wares for sale. 

“She has vintage clothing, vintage jewelry, vintage furniture, and interesting knick-knacks,” Stottlemyer said.

A decorated horse-drawn wagon or sleigh will be on display although rides will not be available. 

“(There is) singing and they have lights on the wagon and it just sort of adds to the spirit of everything,” Stottlemyer said.

Music remains a mainstay of Christmas in Clear Spring. 

“We wanted music to be an important part of it and include the churches and to keep those performances short, like 10 minutes or so, so that a person would go in and listen to organ music or bagpipes or people singing, violinists, different musicians from the community,” she said. 

Although there are many activities happening, Stottlemyer said that with expanded hours, there is plenty of time for those who come to check out everything. Originally when we planned it, we thought, people would just pick and choose, but there are a lot of people who want to do everything, and so they’ll have their schedule and it is possible,” she said. 

One year a person had between 700 and 800 people who went through their house. It’s really, really nice. And not just people of Clear Spring but other friends and relatives of ours come and you see a lot of people that you know. And it’s just nice to go into the churches and hear the Christmas music and get in the spirit. And it’s early enough so that hopefully people will feel a little relaxed and just enjoy the evening,” she said. 

Original Christmas cards by artist and garden club member Cindy Downs are on available for purchase at the library, in the town hall and in St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. 

“We can sell it, and it helps offset some of our expenses. This year, she has a picture of Santa and reindeer near the spring as you come into Clear Spring,” Stottlemyer said.    

Other than food and items offered by vendors, everything is free, including parking. 

Stottlemyer said holding Christmas in Clear Spring every three years is a good balance for those involved. 

“A lot of people ask, ‘Why don’t you do it every year?’ And the answer is, just because of the amount of time and energy involved in putting it together and we are a small organization. Right now, every three years is what we can manage and still enjoy doing. And that way, too, it’s something special and people look forward to it,” she said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Christmas in Clear Spring 
WHEN: 3 to 9 pm. Saturday, Dec. 9
WHERE: various locations around Clear Spring
COST: Admission and parking is free; food and other items will be available for purchase 

Schedule of events

  • 3 p.m. - parade kicks off at Clear Spring High School
  • 3 to 6 p.m. - Clear Spring Lion’s Club chicken and waffle dinner at St. John’s United Church of Christ   
  • 4 to 8:30 p.m. - Clear Spring Artisan’s Market       
  • 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. - Open houses decorated for Christmas   
  • 5:30 p.m. - Cresset Lamp is lit at Towne Park   
  • 8:30 p.m. - Cresset Lamp extinguished
  • Music will take place at Clear Spring Town Park and at churches between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m.

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