BLAIRSVILLE — From Santa Claus to snowflakes, Blairsville Christmas 2013 offers a host of offerings sure to make the season bright.
The longtime celebration kicks off Friday. The bulk of the borough’s holiday happenings take place Saturday during the annual Light Up Night celebration.
[PHOTO: Phil LaMantia and Mary Piper, members of the Blairsville Light Up committee, decorated the Christmas tree Saturday at the bandstand on the Diamond. (Teri Enciso/Gazette photo)]
Activities for all ages abound and revolve around the sweetness of holiday treats, the warmth of seasonal lights and the merriment of community camaraderie.
“Blairsville is rallying around the town to make it a very nice Christmas,” said Carol Persichetti, a member of Friends of the Park.
The organization, formed this year to support borough activities, is hosting the event along with the Blairsville Community Development Authority. Persichetti is also active in the BCDA.
“I believe that participation has been increasing, and that’s what the BCDA has been trying to do, build on it every year,” she said.
Holiday events begin with the 10,000 Villages Nativity display from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at Hebron Lutheran Church.
Church member Brenda Shutter started the display last year with the help of the Daughters of Hebron. It featured more than 100 Nativities from the community.
“We had an excellent response to that last year,” she said.
As in 2012, people from the fair trade organization 10,000 Villages will be on hand to sell gift items from across the globe. Sales benefit the artisans from Third World countries who make the crafts.
A live Nativity will also be a part of the display.
Light Up Night events run from morning to night Saturday, beginning in the morning with a cookie walk from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Blairsville United Presbyterian Church.
A craft and home business show sponsored by the Blairsville Competition Majorettes follows. To be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Armory, the show will include about 25 different tables with local home businesses and crafters.
The Christmas tree in the bandstand will be lit at 6 p.m., and Santa will arrive at the bandstand at 6:30. A luminaria ceremony will take place at 7:30 p.m. Luminarias can be purchased to honor or remember a loved one. They will be placed on the bandstand and the streets.
The Fabulous Firs display, a Light Up Night tradition, will help to raise money to support community activities. In the past, organizers said, up to 50 local businesses have been involved in the display, which not only invites organizations and businesses to decorate Christmas trees, wreaths and swags but offers Light Up Night attendees the chance to bid on their favorite.
Those at Light Up Night can view and bid on the trees and other decorated items from 1 to 8:30 p.m. The display, like many of Saturday’s activities, will take place near the bandstand in downtown Blairsville.
Some downtown businesses will be raffling off items like gift cards, gift baskets and Christmas d￩cor, among other items, according to organizers. Participating businesses can be identified by a snowflake hung at their location. Raffle winners will be announced at Light Up Night.
Those who come out on Saturday will also have the chance to purchase snowflake-themed scarves sold by the BCDA as a fundraiser, sing Christmas carols with the Blairsville Community Band and the Blairsville High School band and chorus, and enjoy treats like hot chocolate and kettle corn.
“Blairsville is rallying around the town to make it a very nice Christmas,” Perischetti said. “Everyone is getting on the same page and supporting each other and it’s great.”
Blairsville Light Up Night
4 to 8 p.m. — 10,000 Villages Nativity display, Hebron Lutheran Church
8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. — Cookie walk, Blairsville United Presbyterian Church
9 a.m. to 3 p.m. — Competition majorettes craft and home business show, the Armory
1 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. — Fabulous Firs Christmas tree display, bandstand
6 p.m. — Light the tree, bandstand
6:30 p.m. — Santa arrives, bandstand
7:30 p.m. — Luminaria ceremony, bandstand
8:30 p.m. — Fabulous Firs drawings, bandstand