WESTMINSTER - Relive the joy and fun of Christmas as it used to be -- with carolers, stories, holiday crafts, strolling entertainment, a train ride with Santa and the lighting of the town tree -- as the Westminster Downtown Business and Professional Association sponsors "Christmas on Olde Main Street," a daylong celebration of the holidays.
"We just wanted to bring back some old-fashioned activities to get people to learn about downtown Westminster and to bring them back downtown, hopefully to do some shopping," said Cheryl Poklemba, downtown promotions coordinator for Westminster and the association.
Activities will run 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, highlighted by the lighting of the town Christmas tree by Mayor W. Benjamin Brown at 5 p.m.
and the arrival of St. Nicholas in a horse-drawn sleigh at 5:30.
If you don't believe Christmas is for children, come and hear traditional holiday songs sung by the Children's Chorus of Carroll County, or join them as they welcome St. Nicholas.
No ordinary Santa, this St. Nicholas will be right out of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," resplendent in an authentic, hand-made Victorian robe and crown. He'll have goody bags for the children, compliments of the DBPA.
And, speaking of Dickens, you can meet Scrooge, Ebenezer and Tiny Tim at the celebration. But don't let Scrooge scare you away from giving -- the true spirit of Christmas. Several activities will require canned food for the needy as part of the admission price.
"We're offering carriage and hayrides for 50 cents and a canned food to go to Neighbors in Need, to give back to the community," Poklemba said.
The association also will place baskets for canned goods throughout the downtown area for donations to local charities.
Activities include story time for all ages at 10 a.m. at the Westminster Library (those 5 and under must be accompanied by an adult); holiday crafts for children from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Sherwood Square; and free gift wrapping by Westminster High School and Western Maryland College students for purchases made downtown, also in Sherwood Square.
"We'll even have old-fashioned refreshments for the public -- hot cider, ginger bread and lemon sticks," Poklemba said.
The association also will sell a new "Kids Stuff Coupon Book" featuring coupons for county and Baltimore-area children's activities.
Downtown businesses will welcome you between events with open houses and refreshments, harking back to a time when shopping for that special gift didn't mean battling the hectic rush of holiday commercialism. Be sure to check out the antique decorated Christmas tree at White's Emporium, 12 W.
If you feel the need to sit a while, hop on the EnterTRAINment Line with Santa at 2:30 p.m. for a 90-minute ride into the country. Tickets are $4.50 for kids, $7 for adults, and can be purchased in advance at the EnterTRAINment Line in Union Bridge or at White's Emporium.
Or you can just stop and listen to carolers, the Carrolltowne Bell Ringers or take the carriage ride to WMC for the Holiday Happiness Show, featuring mime, magic and jugglers.
Tickets for the 1 and 8 p.m. Holiday Happiness shows are $3.50 for children, $4.50 for adults, and will be sold downtown and at the door Saturday.