Frostburg sings, twirls, runs, reads and leaps into holiday season

Marty Rhodes Figley, author of Santa’s Underwear, reads to kids
Mike Wade serves as parade grand marshal 

* Photo gallery – Run for Autism, MCCA performance, Storybook Holiday Parade
* AlleganyPlayground on Facebook

By Kevin Spradlin
AlleganyPlayground.com

FROSTBURG — More than one adult had a quizzical look of, “how on earth do I explain that” etched into their faces as people shorter and younger asked questions the taller, older people weren’t quite ready to entertain.

Kevin Spradlin | Allegany Playground
Performers with Mountain City Center for the Arts regale onlookers before the start of the Storybook Holiday Parade.

“We can’t go to the North Pole today,” two women told an obviously disappointed young boy.

And then there were some no-brainers.

“Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings,” said a parent to a child asking about one of the decorated parking meters along Main Street, borrowing a phrase from the classic James Stewart movie “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

With those types of explanations, along with eating, reading, singing, twirling, running and leaping, residents and visitors alike celebrated the 18th annual Storybook Holiday event in Frostburg. The day-long affair is sponsored by the Frostburg State University Children’s Literature Centre.

The event serves as an economic engine for local businesses, many of which had large windows decorated by local students. Storybook Holiday also serves as a throwback to a simpler time — if that time ever did, indeed, exist — when people recognized that what makes a person rich isn’t necessary the type of car in the driveway or the latest toy under the tree.

Kevin Spradlin | Allegany Playground
Runners in the Run Your Bells Off for Autism were dressed for the occasion.

It’s about family and friendship. It’s about community, and perhaps no place celebrates that better than the Mountain City. And if you happened to arrive without a schedule, Dr. Barbara Ornstein probably made her way to you to fix that.

The day began with Breakfast with the Elves at Hotel Gunter, then the Elf Olympics (emceed by none other than Jack Frost) were contested on Broadway. Through games like trivia and gift-wrapping, the top squad was revealed as a crowd of onlookers cheered.

Members of the Mountain City Center for the Arts then took over Main Street with a celebration intended to kickstart the community into the holiday season. Song and dance helped keep the spectators young and old entertained on a day that reached into the mid-40s with the sun showing — a bit uncharacteristic for “Frost” burg.

Kevin Spradlin | Allegany Playground
Members of the FSU Bobcats football team earned one of the loudest cheers among spectators.

Runners and walkers in the 10th annual Run Your Bells Off for Autism mile run served as the unofficial first float in the marquee Storybook Holiday Parade. Starting at the yellow blinking light on Main Street at Armstrong, participants had a ready-and-willing crowd, lined up for the parade to begin, to root them on throughout their two-footed journey down Main Street.

The parade was filled with the classics — almost exactly what people have seen before, and exactly what people would be disappointed to miss if any one of the entrants were not present.

There were the public, elected officials and candidates — including Allegany County Sheriff Craig Robertson, Circuit Court Clerk Dawne Lindsey, and Orphans’ Court Judge Ed Crossland, and elected officials from Frostburg, and its police force. In addition, appearances were made by volunteer fire departments from Frostburg, Mount Savage, Eastern Garrett, Shaft, Bowman’s Addition and more.

Kevin Spradlin | Allegany Playground
Santa Claus took his customary place as the caboose of the parade train to officially welcome the Christmas season to Allegany County.

Several businesses, nonprofits and civic groups also were represented, though an entrant’s popularity seemed — anecdotally, at least — correlated to the amount of candy being thrown to the younger members of the spectators. That means the white Jeep Rubicon (sponsored by J&S Pawn and Gun) that carried a dueling Santa and Grinch (who seemed to be stealing candy from Santa’s bag to throw to children) were followed with affection.

Among those in the parade: Farraday Post 24 American Legion; Frostburg City Police Color Guard; the Girl Scouts; Tracks and Yacks; and the Freemasons.

Members of the Frostburg State University football team garnered one of the loudest cheers from the crowd. The Bobcats were Mountain East Conference co-champs and finished the regular season with a record of 10 wins against a lone loss.

Kevin Spradlin | Allegany Playground
An MCCA student leaves the ground during a Storybook Holiday performance on Saturday in Frostburg.

The crowd seemed to melt away at the parade’s end, but that’s because many of the remaining activities took place indoors. Kids headed to City Place for the Elves’ Secret Workshop, where they wrote and mailed their letters to Santa, and got their picture taken with an elf.

There were storybook readings at the Frostburg Community Library and, later in the afternoon, children’s author Marty Rhodes Figley, who penned Santa’s Underwear, gave a presentation at Hotel Gunter.

 

Filed in: Allegany County, Featured News, Frostburg, Latest Headlines

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