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From carriage rides to reindeer, Pine's 'Dazzle' delivers holiday spirit

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 8:59 p.m.
Pine Creek Journal
Former Budweiser Hitch driver Greg Morrison of Butler County will offer free rides in his white vis-à-vis at the Holiday Dazzle Show on Nov. 18 at Pine Community Center. Morrison may bring his 18.1-hand black Percheron gelding Falcon (pictured) to pull the carriage. Submitted
Pine Creek Journal
Elizabeth McMurry, 14, a freshman at Pine-Richland High School, will be among Santa’s elves at the Holiday Dazzle Show. Submitted

Carriage driver Katie Voll Morrison got drenched last year at the Holiday Dazzle Show in Pine Township.

An unexpected 1,000 people attended the event, and many lined up in the rain for free rides in Morrison's dazzling white vis-à-vis, powered by her “bombproof” Lincoln, a 17.3-hand black Percheron gelding.

“We were soaked to the bone. Luckily it wasn't a cold rain ... But people were happy to stand in the rain with their umbrellas ... It took a while for the carriage to dry out,” said Morrison, 34, of Connoquenessing Township, Butler County. “We were busy the entire time, even in the rain.”

Morrison is the daughter of Linda and Larry Voll, also of Connoquenessing, and granddaughter of the late Warren Soergel and Nancy Soergel, who still works at the Soergel Orchards market on Brandt School Road in Franklin Park. Morrison now manages the market.

Morrison's husband, Greg, used to drive Budweiser's famed hitch of Clydesdales at East Coast engagements from Florida to Maine.

The Morrisons, both competition drivers, will again offer carriage rides at the third annual Holiday Dazzle Show, set for 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 18 at Pine Community Center.

A camel and reindeer also are among expected guests.

Food vendors will offer hot dogs, pizza, funnel cakes, apple cider and cookies. Glow sticks also will be available.

A Pyrotecnico fireworks display will close the show.

Holiday Dazzle Show organizer Heidi McMurry — who runs the front desk at Pine Community Center — described the annual event as a perennially enchanting wonderland of sights and sounds.

“The first thing you see across the parking lot is this gigantic screen with the movie ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas' going, and right beside it is a bonfire with people roasting marshmallows,” said McMurry.

“Around the bend, your choice is to either go through the community center, or you can go around the back, where Santa is, with a holiday band playing ... and there's the reindeer and camel there, with a hot chocolate booth while you wait.”

Santa Claus – transported by Wexford Volunteer Fire Department — will attend the event so people can pose with him for photos. Bring a camera.

A holiday hat parade for children — led by the Pine-Richland Drum Line — will open the Holiday Dazzle Show.

Judges will award prizes for the best headgear after participants march around the community center's parking lot.

Children also can help decorate a 6-foot-tall gingerbread house and choose from a variety of craft activities inside the community center, also the site for live entertainment.

Expected performers include the children's choruses of Hance, Richland and Wexford elementary schools; the Melissa Nemetz School of Dance; the Pine-Richland Dancing Tuba Line; and children from Salem Preschool.

Ice sculptor Richard Bubin of Ice Creations also will demonstrate his artistry outdoors.

Volunteers are still needed to help at the Holiday Dazzle Show, and people who donate their time will receive a guest pass for a future visit to the community center. Efforts to plan the event began a year ago.

“This event takes a lot of people and we need a lot of support,” said Joni Patsko, director of parks and recreation for Pine Township.

Tickets to the Holiday Dazzle Show — available at Pine Community Center — cost $3 through Nov. 16 or $5 at the door.

Pine Community Center is at 100 Pine Park Drive, Pine. To volunteer at Holiday Dazzle Show, call 724-625-1636, ext. 3.

Deborah Deasy is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6369 or ddeasy@tribweb.com.

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