Text and photos by Ray Balogh
LEESBURG — The town of Leesburg redeemed a wet and dreary night Saturday, Dec. 12, with lights, music and holiday treats.
From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. families in the area arrived at the old fire station on Pearl Street to enjoy Christmas music and fellowship. Volunteers from town served up almost 20 varieties of homemade cookies, accompanied by cups of coffee for the adults and hot chocolate with mini marshmallows for the kids of all ages.
One table was set up with writing supplies for children to compose a letter to Santa Claus, who was quarantined at the North Pole this year. “Santa will send them back a letter before Christmas,” promised Christina Archer, vice president of the Leesburg Town Council, who spearheaded the celebration. “He has some very nice local elves.”
Mike Beezley, pastor of Clunette United Methodist Church, and Mike Todd, one of the church’s praise team members, played their guitars and sang Yuletide tunes ranging from the fun and festive to the classic to the spiritual and deeply contemplative:
Included in the playlist:
• “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas”
• “O Come, All Ye Faithful”
• “Mary, Did You Know?”
• “All I Want for
Christmas is You”
• “Blue Christmas”
• “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”
• “Weight of the World”
• “Go Tell It on the Mountain”
The luminaries were assembled Wednesday, Dec. 9, by a group of volunteers, and lit at dusk Saturday. Plastic containers were set into small paper bags, and filled with “a pound or so” of sand with a candle placed in the center.
“The combination of having the container and the sand works pretty well,” said Archer. “The candles are made of long-lasting paraffin and typically last about six hours.”
She said, “The 4-H and Boy Scouts helped put them out and light them. We have one of the biggest 4-H groups in the area and quite a few Boy Scouts and a lot of young people in the community whose parents are willing to have them come out. They got everything done in about 1 1/2 hours.”
Archer thanked the local merchants for “supporting this through advertising” and noted, “Maple Leaf Farms has provided some of the funding in the past and did so again this year. We are kept the tradition as best we could, given the circumstances this year.”
See the Wednesday, Dec. 16, issue of The Mail-Journal for a full article on the event.