The snow and ice storm on Saturday, Dec. 14 delayed the 5th Annual Christmas in Birdsboro event by a day, but the town’s Christmas spirit could not be stopped. The holiday festival continued with a huge turnout.
After getting covered with several inches of snow on Saturday followed by a thick coating of ice and sleet on Saturday night, Birdsboro workers worked double-time to prepare the park and roads for the event.
“This was definitely a tough event to pull off this year,” Borough Manager Aaron Durso remarked. “Thank our Birdsboro workers. They did an absolute fabulous job, working and plowing all night. Many of them haven’t slept since yesterday.”
Their hard work and extra effort paid off as the festival was packed. Some last minute changes were introduced, but the night flowed smoothly.
The star of the evening, Santa Claus himself, arrived on a fire truck around 5 p.m., sirens and lights blaring, to the delight of the waiting crowd. He greeted children in the comfort of a miniature house built by the Exeter Home Depot. He was attended by Mrs. Claus and two elves.
In the nearby Home Depot tent, kids put together their own toolboxes. Across the street, the Birdsboro Church of the Nazarene set up a living Nativity, complete with live animals. The Reedy family played the Holy Family and the shepherds. The beautiful set was built by Jerry McCreay.
Tents and booths lined both sides of Water Street. Most were staffed with volunteers from local organizations selling things like calendars and candies and lots of hot food and drinks to keep festival-goers warm through the icy evening.
The street echoed with shouts from some of the sellers, letting everyone know what they had available. Some booths, including the Birdsboro Lions Club, the “best around!” according to enthusiastic pretzel-seller Harry Cusick, sold nearly all their goods by the end of the night.
The chill of the air made hot apple cider and hot cocoa the popular drinks of the night, while hot dogs, pork sandwiches, and walking tacos competed with fries and funnel cakes to fill the stomachs of the crowd.
The festivities were not limited to Main Bird Park. In the Borough Hall parking lot, long lines formed to ride the three horse-drawn carriages around the town. “I liked when we passed the river,” Lydia Orme described the scenery they rode through.
“It was warm!” Mariah Hoffman added.
Cold and wind made the trolley another popular attraction. The trolley acted as a free bus service to several stops in Birdsboro, including the Church of the Nazarene and Touch of Grace, a new business specializing in antiques and unique gift items. Proprietors Grace and Gary Simmons set out hot tea and chocolate and a plate of cookies for customers.
When asked what he enjoyed most about Christmas in Birdsboro, Derek Dierolf said, very simply, “All the activities.”
The storm of the previous day added another activity for many of the kids and some of the kids at heart in the form of snow play. Snowball fights erupted around the swing sets several times throughout the event, accompanied by shrieking and laughing. At least one snow angel was created in one of the few non-trampled areas in the park.
The band Post Electra played Christmas songs, both traditional and modern, all day, taking breaks only to let Durso make announcements.
State representative David Maloney attended the event with his wife, Deborah. “Kudos to Birdsboro. This improves every year. There’s an awful lot of business participation. It’s wonderful to see them celebrating the reason for the season.”
At the end of the night, just before the tree lighting and fireworks, Post Electra led the crowd in singing “O Come, All Ye Faithful.” The night was the perfect picture of a community gathering together to make a seemingly impossible event happen in a beautiful way.