South Connellsville Borough to hold 'Christmas Celebration'

| Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

It will be a big “Christmas Celebration” in South Connellsville Borough on Saturday night as Santa arrives at the playground for a visit and brings one of his reindeer.

“This is an evening for friends and families to get into the spirit of the holiday,” Mayor Pete Casini said. “The kids always have a great time.”

The event begins at 5 p.m., with ballot pickup at the playground pavilion for those who want to take a “light drive” through the borough to enjoy all the beautifully decorated homes. Those who want to cast votes for the best displays must use the official ballot and return it to the pavilion. Residents were able to sign up to participate in the Light Up Contest at no charge this year by registering at the borough building.

Santa will arrive at 6 p.m. for photos; the first 100 children receive a gift from him. A live reindeer will be there, too.

To add to the festive atmosphere, horse-drawn buggy rides can be enjoyed and hot chocolate, s'mores, hot dogs and snacks will be sold. Attendees don't have to worry about the temperature because several fire pits will be available for warming up.

“We like to add something new to this annual ‘Christmas Celebration' every year,” said Karen Holbrook, one of the event planners and South Connellsville Borough councilwoman. “Children will be able to make an ornament to be put on the borough's Christmas tree displayed in front of the Honor Roll.”

Saturday also will be the last chance for residents to purchase $2 tickets for a 51-inch plasma TV and an Apple iPad. Winners will be drawn at 9 p.m. and they do not have to be present to win. Those who want to purchase tickets in advance can stop in through Friday at the borough building.

There are many Chinese auction baskets to win. They also will be drawn and given away at 9 p.m.

“All proceeds from the event go into our Playground Improvement Fund,” Holbrook said. “We have made many updates to the playground so far and have many more coming.”

She noted that the concession stand has a new roof; the walking trail has a new surface; there is a new play set for the kids. “We have a lot more planned for the near future, including a fence around the basketball court and a pavilion in the playground area.

“I really think of this space as our Community Park rather than just a playground,” she continued. “People use the walking trail every day. We have flea markets in the summer. This is a space that everyone enjoys and we want to make it a place for families to use for many years.”

Jackson-Hewitt Tax Service has been coming to the South Connellsville Centennial Committee events for several years, holding a coat drive for donations of any new or gently used coats in any size. The coats are then donated to a local charity.

The finale of the “Christmas Celebration” will be a fireworks display at 9 p.m., weather-permitting.

“I want to invite everyone to join us at the playground Saturday night for an evening of family fun,” Casini said.

The event is organized and sponsored by the South Connellsville Borough Centennial Committee.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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