Holiday season kicked off under the clock
By Fran Odyniec
For The Advocate
The village of Plain City officially launched the holiday season Saturday evening. Dec. 1, as nearly 1,000 folks jammed the Flatiron District for the village’s annual “Christmas Under the Clock” celebration highlighted by the lighting of the village Christmas tree.
“This is always a fun night,” Plain City Mayor Sandra Adkins told the crowd as she stood beneath the boughs of the village Christmas tree that towers over the district from its location in Bicentennial Park. “It’s about community.”
The mayor reminded the festive throng that this time of the year is about giving.
“Gift giving began with the Christ child,” she said. “I hope you enjoy all that comes with the season and give of your time and your means to share with those around you.”
As in answer to Angela Lansbury’s Christmas requests in the Broadway musical “Mame” for “a little music…, a little laughter…, a little singing ringing through the rafter…,” choirs from St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Chuckery and Jonathan Alder High School along with members of the high school’s marching band, the band R. AGE, and the Starlight Twirlers and the Auxiliary Creations Twirlers performed to the delight and resounding applause of the evening’s revelers.
Pastor Paul Schlueter, of St. Paul Lutheran Church and School in Chuckery, then gave the invocation. Schlueter said that as people “see the light from the tree and express oohs and aahs as the tree lights up, think of Jesus, God’s light.”
He than asked for God’s blessing for the community throughout the holiday season.
Mayor Adkins proceeded to set the stage for the highlight of the evening.
“Are you ready for lights,” she asked the crowd, which responded with a roaring, “Yeaahhh.”
The six tree lighting ambassadors, winners of the annual Christmas coloring contest, took a strong hold on the huge candy cane lever and prepared to work their magic.
With the crowd chanting the countdown from ten reached one, the ambassadors tugged on the lever and the towering tree came to light to a hardy round of applause.
“I want my kids to remember (the evening) so they can talk about it when they’re older,” said Andy Schimmoeller, who was watching the festivities in the Flatiron District with his wife, Jessica, and their two children, John, 5, and Sarah, 6.
“It’s a sense of community to see how nice it is,” Jessica said.
Pointing to her three children Carmalina, 5, Isabella, 4, and Anna, 3, Stephanie Cardone who was in the crowd waiting for the lighting ceremony with her husband, Armand, said, “We come every year.”
“This brings everybody out,” Armand said. “It lets you know that the holidays are here. It’s also a good thing for businesses.”
Waiting in line at Lovejoy Plaza for the Santa Shuttle taking kids and their parents out to Yoder’s True Value Hardware for their visits with Santa Claus, Jerod Corbin, with his children, Jaden, 1, twins Nicole and Brian, 3, Jenessa, 5, and his mother, Gay Harper, was in the spirit of the season. Unfortunately, his wife, Nemia, was at work.
“This is a good event for children,” Corbin said. “It’s a family event that gets everybody into the Christmas spirit, and the kids enjoy the wagon rides.”
“It’s a sense of community,” Gay said. “I love it. That’s what it is to be in Plain City.”
While the line for the shuttle kept growing across Lovejoy Plaza like the magical tree in “The Nutcracker,” Rock on Ice’s Greg Butauski seemed to cast a spell over those in line with swirls of flying ice chips as he carved holiday figures from four-foot high blocks of ice.
Meanwhile up and down Main Street, folks crowded sidewalks as they lined up in the doorways of businesses that were holding holiday open houses.
The 11th annual Plain City “Christmas Under the Clock” celebration is one of a series of community focused events coordinated by the Uptown Plain City Organization (UPCO).
Julie Weaver, president of UPCO, who introduced Mayor Adkins to open the event, acknowledged the contributions and work that went into producing “Christmas Under the Clock.”
“We at UPCO could not have done this without help from the Village of Plain City, the many, many businesses in the village, and the many resident volunteers,” Weaver said.