The Mount Union community stands ready to usher in the winter holidays and will kick off the season this weekend with a collection of events sure to bring out the Christmas spirit in all.
This weekend’s schedule includes such longstanding Bricktown traditions like the Festival of Trees and Wreaths, the Kiwanis Club’s Christmas Bazaar, the Santa Parade and the Festival Chorus Concert.
The lineup also includes an open house at the Bricktown Model Railroaders’ headquarters and a pancake breakfast with Frosty the Snowman.
Festivities begin Friday and conclude Sunday.
The Festival of Trees and Wreathes, a three-day event held at the Mount Union Presbyterian Church at the corner of Shirley and Division streets, opens its doors at 10 a.m. Friday with not only a display of festive greens but musical performances by area youth.
The Mount Union Area High School jazz band and the select chorus will perform at noon followed by the sixth grade band and chorus at 1 p.m. Starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, the festival will host a recital featuring local private studio students.
In addition, the festival, celebrating its 24th year, will also serve as a backdrop for the annual Little Mr. and Miss Mount Union pageant, starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
Trees and wreaths will be on view from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday. The public is encouraged to come see the trees and cast votes for their favorites.
Cathy and Norman Wilson have been coordinating the festival since year one. Cathy said she continues to be impressed by residents’ holiday creations.
“Every year the entries are different and they are all amazing,” she said. “It does demonstrate how creative people are and it expresses their feelings about the season.”
The festival is sponsored by the Mount Union Area Chamber of Commerce, Mount Union Area Historical Society, the Huntingdon County Arts Council, with additional support from the Sons of Italy and community members. She said this year, the event has received some extra promotional support from Heather Himes and the Mount Union Community Library.
Wilson said she counts the Mount Union Area School District among the festival’s supporters as well.
“They allow their students to participate and that is a big deal,” she said. “So many parts of our community come together to support the activities that go on this weekend.”
The Mount Union Area Kiwanis Club’s Christmas Bazaar, held in the basement level of the First United Methodist Church at 15 W. Shirley St., is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.
The bazaar, marking its 37th year, features the work of local craft vendors plus homemake food. Santa will stop by for a visit from noon to 2 p.m.
The Bricktown Model Railroaders Association will host its annual open house Saturday and Sunday at its headquarters in a century-old brick warehouse at 300 W. Small St. BMRA members welcome the public to check out their latest renovations and to enjoy their temporary model railroad displays.
“We’re excited to share our progress with the community this year,” George Sarra, BMRA’s public relations director, said. “We have more of our trains running for this Christmas and we also have heat this year so it should be very comfortable for visitors.”
Open house hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
The jolly old elf himself, Santa Claus or Kris Kringle in some circles, will ride into Bricktown onboard a Mount Union Fire Co. truck as the guest of honor in the annual holiday parade, sponsored by the Mount Union Area Chamber of Commerce.
The parade starts at 4 p.m. and will feature Mount Union Area High School’s marching Trojan band. Santa will disembark at the First United Methodist Church, site of the community Christmas tree, to visit with children.
Saturday’s holiday activities start with Flapjacks with Frosty, from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at Bricktown Events, 28 W. Shirley St. Sponsored by the Mount Union Wesleyan Church, the event is open to the public and features a pancake breakfast, music by the Wesleyan Church Worship Team, photos with Frosty the Snowman, as well as games, crafts and face-painting, plus gifts for children 12 and under while supplies. And everything is free of charge.
Weekend festivities will conclude with the Mount Union Festival Chorus Concert, “NOEL,” starting at 7 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church.
The chorus, under the direction of William Lamberson, has been rehearsing since September and will perform a selection of both old and new Christmas carols. The Festival Ringers, a handbell choir, will also perform.
Community Christmas events in Mount Union don’t stop this weekend; there’s more ahead:
The Mount Union Community Library will host a children’s party at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12.
The Bricktown Book Club will hold a Christmas party starting at 2 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18, at the Mount Union Community Library.
MUASD families are reminded of upcoming holiday performances: junior high band and chorus concert, 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13; senior high band and chorus concert, 6:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17; Shirley Township elementary School concert, 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 18; Mount Union-Kistler Elementary School concert, 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 19; Mapleton-Union Elementary School concert, 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 20. All concerts, including elementary school groups, will be held at Mount Union Area High School.