Downtown Hamburg was filled with holiday spirit during the annual 'Catch the Spirit' event on Dec. 7. What has been a two day event in the past, was only one day this year due to the tree lighting moving to Saturday night with the rainy weather on Friday.

Hosted by The Bridge Church, The Greater Hamburg Business Association, Hamburg Lions Club and Our Town Foundation, the day began with the Holiday parade featuring local scouts troops, the Hamburg Area High School marching band and of course Santa Clause. At the end of the parade Santa and Mrs. Clause settled in at Santa's Workshop in the Municipal Parking Lot where children were anxiously awaiting a chance to visit with him and pose for pictures.

After the parade and pictures with Santa, there were many different events happening in Hamburg for visitors to attend while at the same time stopping into the local shops and seeing local artists and crafters.

Inside and in front of the local business were artists and crafters Amber Carver, Bernadine Ratajezak, Busy Bee, i Heart Missions, John Niedlinger, Lindsay Bast, Lisa's Floral Creations, Stitches and Strokes and Thru Jen's Lens. There were also works by local artists in the Gallery of Hamburg, Adams and Bright Drug Store and Gatherings and Blessings.

During the morning, Bethany United Methodist Church held their Christmas Bazaar which featured even more craft items. The first singing performance of the day took place on the balcony of Necessities New and Used Furniture where Linda Easter sang holiday music for all to hear on Fourth Street.

Throughout the day, attendees could take a trip over to South 3rd Street to the Reading Railroad Heritage Museum for the 'Trains, Trees, and Gingerbread' Exhibit. Children Crafts took place by Hecky's Sub Shop and allowed children to make a free holiday craft presented by Salem Church and CONCERN Counseling Services.

At the Gallery of Hamburg, not only could people stop in to look at the displays of many local artists, but they could also enjoy a wine and cheese tasting from Long Trout Winery and stop in and enjoy a Dinorific poetry reading by the father and son author and illustrator team of Michael and Ethan Sgrignali. Also in the gallery was harp music by harpists Barbara Greim.

Late afternoon, there was a musical performance by the Andulhea Heritage Choir at St. John's Lutheran Church and Christmas Caroling by Blue Mountain Academy students on State Street.

The Hamburg Strand Theater held two special free showings of 'Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer' and 'Frosty the Snowman' for those who wanted to enjoy the two classics.

Ending the day was the tree lighting in the Municipal Parking lot featuring musical entertainment from The Bridge Church and others as well as a few words from local church leaders.

'Remember the veterans even as we enter this joyous season,' said Peter P. Kalabisk, Hamburg Mayor-elect before the tree lighting referring to Dec. 7. 'Remember those who made it possible for us to do this.'

Kalabisk also shared his memories of the holidays before leading the countdown to the tree lighting. Once the tree was lit, the choir treated the attendees to more holiday favorites.

The day had refreshments throughout the town and the Perk Up Truck and Dutch Valley Confections. As well as special promotions with Hamburg Bucks and a shopping spree contest, there was a Toys for Tots Collection in the town.

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