Oxford shines brightly during cheery Country Christmas celebration
By Steven Hoffman
Santa Claus was riding atop an Oxford Union Fire Company No. 1 fire truck when he saw all the families with children lined up on Third Street to greet him.
Santa waved and offered a cheerful “Ho! Ho! Ho!” before he climbed off the fire truck and started greeting all the children. Within a few minutes, Santa was inside the KVIS & Coe Insurance office, posing for pictures and listening as children shared their Christmas wishes with him. Abby, a particularly helpful elf, handed out small gifts to the children.
The appearance by Santa Claus was just one of the heartwarming moments at Oxford’s Country Christmas celebration on Dec. 6: There were children making Christmas crafts in Santa’s Workshop, carriage rides, student choirs, beautifully decorated storefronts, and much more to provide Christmas cheer to everyone at the event.
“There’s something for everyone here tonight,” observed Brian Wenzka, the executive director of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc., which planned the celebration. “This is my favorite First Friday event, and I think it’s the community’s favorite First Friday.”
There was live music throughout the evening, including performances by the Christian Life Center Band and the Lincoln University Choir. There were hayrides and carriage rides, and the shops and restaurants in town planned special activities and offerings for the festive night.
Sue Lombardi, the president of Oxford Borough Council presided over the lighting of the town Christmas tree.
“I can’t think of a better way to kick off the holiday season,” Lombardi told the large crowd who gathered in the center of town for the tree lighting.
Once the tree was lit, families took turns posing for pictures in front of it. Mary Baringer, one of the many volunteers who helped OMI plan and stage the Oxford Country Christmas, made about 100 bows to adorn the tree.
The Christian Life Center Band led the community in singing “Silent Night,” once the tree was lit.
Attendees of the event even got a sneak peak of the Shoebox Theater, the new, intimate 50-seat theater that is planned for the building at 19 South Third Street. The theater, which could open before the end of the year, hints at a cheery and bright future for Oxford Borough.
“I think this is going to be an important part of our downtown,” said Lee Archer, who has played a pivotal role in making the theater project a reality.