A merry weekend, despite the weather

By on December 10, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Lititz Christmas might have been a bit merrier if it had been sunny, or even snowy, on Saturday.

But the kids didn’t seem to mind.

The Merry Lititz Christmas festivities were in full swing in downtown Lititz, despite gray skies and a steady drizzle that eventually turned to chilly rains. Christmas in the Park had been canceled the night before, due to the dreary weather.LR20141211_CMerryLititz4

“It’s OK, because Santa is here and he’s inside,” said Emma Logan, who had just put in her order for a “Frozen” singing Elsa doll. It seemed appropriate.

Most of the festivities were, indeed, held indoors at Lititz Elementary School, where Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived in a big white Lititz Fire Company engine. For a while, it looked like the ride might not go off, as rain appeared eminent. It held off, and the Clauses were able to make the brief journey to the school, where Santa groupies eagerly awaited their arrival.

Dressed like royalty, in red velvet and white fur, Mr. and Mrs. Claus made their way to their thrones in the lobby just outside the cafeteria, as youngsters lined up to make their Christmas requests. Mrs. Claus placed her elegant white faux fur coat aside, and took notes as Santa queried his young fans on their holiday wishes.

The organizer of Merry Lititz Christmas, Kathy Blankenbiller, was nowhere in sight, which seemed a bit odd. However, a few people noted that Mrs. Claus seemed to bear an uncanny resemblance to the missing organizer.

For Blankenbiller it was a bittersweet event. After six years of organizing the Have Yourself a Merry Lititz Christmas celebration for kids from one to 10, she had announced that this year marked her “swan song.” She would be handing the reins over to Lititz mother and 2001 Warwick High School graduate Sarah Hummer next year.

Blankenbiller noted that she felt it was time to have someone new take over the event she had carefully conceived and nurtured. Hummer got to see what was involved in planning a downtown Lititz event with all the trimmings in the pouring rain.

At Lititz Elementary School, where most of the action took place, children got to talk to Santa and Mrs. Claus, as well as participate in activities that included a book corner with gently used books for each child, a coloring station, a craft station, an elf certification station, Christmas bingo, Go Fish!, spin art, temporary tattoos, a lollipop tree, popcorn, ice cream from Greco’s, root beer from Appalachian Brewery, and a free prize drawing.

Jayden Good was pleased with his huge wrapped gift after winning a round of bingo. The wall was lined with wrapped gifts for the lucky children who got to call out “bingo!”

Volunteer elves Peter Harris and Meg Barr were enjoying their time with the younger children.

Not far away balloon artist Andrew Imhoff was delighting children with his clever creatures, like a pretty butterfly or a snail with big yellow eyes.

Entertainers at Lititz Elementary School included Sebastian Janoski singing Christmas classics, the E-Mazin’ Grace Singers, Jesse Rothaker & Reptile Friends, Chris Ivey, hula lessons with Ronni Sakamoto, and magic by Insanity Factor.

The excitement was all over town, along with umbrellas, later in the day. A downtown scavenger hunt brought children to shops lining Main, Broad and Water streets, as well as Sturgis Lane and Kleine Lane.

Shops offered gifts for children, as they followed their maps to A Tea Affair, Aaron’s Books, Affinity Antiques, Always New to You, Antiques & Stuff, Back Home Again, Appalachian Brewing Company, Café Chocolate, Candyology, Ewebiquitous, Glitz, Heavenly Scents and Soaps, Isabella’s Ice Cream Shop, Lititz Historical Foundation, Matthew 25, MinD’s Boutique, Morton’s Fine Furniture, Pop’s Coffee Shop, Stargazer’s Winery, Sturgis Haus, The Curiosity Shoppe, The Curiosity Shoppe Too, The Main Street Peddler, The Purple Turtle, The Teddy Bear Emporium, Tiger’s Eye, Wilbur Chocolate and Zum Anker Alley Shoppes.

There was more too. At the Lititz Welcome Center, children picked up their maps for the scavenger hunt, along with bags to carry their goodies. At Lititz Moravian Church, the traditional Christmas Putz nativity scene was on display. There was a gingerbread contest in 15 shops and restaurants in town. Boy Scout Troop 44 offered free funnel cakes dusted with powered sugar near Wertsch Vision Associates.

For Blankenbiller and her merry band of elves, it was clear that a little rain was not about to dampen the Christmas spirit.

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