The City of Hagerstown will host its annual tree-lighting ceremony in Public Square at 5 p.m. Monday, followed by the 23rd annual Hollyfest at The Maryland Theatre at 7 p.m.
Coordinated by the city’s Community Affairs Office, both events are free to the public.
“We encourage everyone to come out,” Community Affairs Manager Karen Giffin said. “... And it is a great way to start the holiday season in City Center.”
This year’s tree is a 39-foot blue spruce donated by the city’s Public Works Department.
North Hagerstown High School students Jonathan Shipley and Matt Ritter will assist Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II in lighting the Christmas tree at 6 p.m. The students will be there to represent their fellow schoolmate Aaron Miller, a junior varsity football player for the Hubs who was diagnosed with leukemia earlier this year.
Ornaments for the tree were crafted by students from the Barbara Ingram School for the Arts’ Visual Arts Department.
Ornament makers include Derrick Johnson, Skyler Hall, Liana James, Kayla Keeler, Mary O’Connell, Erin Mettille, Tyresha Carter, Carly Reagan, Abby Recabo, Annika Rochefort, Andrew Sandeen, Patrick Soper, Amanda Zabala, Helen Domsky, Gideon Beebe, Lindsey Long, Nahja Collins, Lauren Giannola and Alex Snyder.
New this year, the Downtown Alliance will hold a Holiday Faire Off The Square from 4 to 8 p.m. to start off the night in Public Square, featuring holiday crafts and artisan vendors.
Also a new addition to the event, free 5-by-7-inch photos with Santa Claus will be offered to attendees, courtesy of Anderson Photographs on South Potomac Street. Additional portraits will be available for purchase.
At 5 p.m., brass quintets from North Hagerstown and South Hagerstown high schools will perform in Public Square and members of Girls Inc. will sing Christmas carols.
Bulls & Bears will provide free hot chocolate and snacks in the square, and Otterbein United Methodist Church will be giving out popcorn. The tree lighting is sponsored by Volvo Powertain.
Immediately after the tree lighting, Hollyfest, which first began as a Christmas parade before it became an indoor event, is an evening featuring the talent of numerous local students and children’s groups in the community.
Hollyfest participants include the North High brass quintet, Dancin’ Time Studios, Hagerstown Children’s Theater, North High show choir, North High concert choir, North High madrigals, Washington County Show Kids and Show Company, Barbara Ingram dance ensemble, Boonsboro Middle School merit chorus, Spring Middle School show choir and Riversong & YROC Drama Ministry Inc.
Miss Maryland Joanna Guy will read “The Night Before Christmas.” The Dean of Magic and Santa also will make appearances.
In conjunction with the city, sponsors of 2012 Hollyfest include The Columbia Bank – Hagerstown Trust Division and Antietam Cable/Disney Jr.