The Philipsburg Christmas Kick-Off went off without a hitch Saturday. An upcoming hitch was an unexpected part of the fun, however.
The Moshannon Valley YMCA Zumba class was making its way up the street, costumed in their kitschy Christmas best. Just around the Rowland Theatre, though, they were joined by an extra Santa.
Philipsburg resident Kory Fish was dressed like Old St. Nick when he approached Mandy Slegle, in her own Mrs. Claus outfit. Then he handed her the first present of the season, a princess-cut diamond ring. She gave him back her own gift, an emphatic “yes!” and a big kiss right in the middle of Front Street.
“I had no idea,” Slegle said afterward, while friends hugged her as the parade finished its trip up the street.
“We did!” shouted back several of her friends.
Fish said the idea has been in the works for about a month.
“I didn’t plan too much,” he said. The one thing he was banking on was getting a fiancée for Christmas, saying he was pretty sure she was going to accept his proposal.
Zoe Wolf, 4, will be easier to make happy. After watching the official Santa, not Fish, make his way down the street on the back of a fire engine, she waited at Butter Me Up Bakery for the chance to sit on his lap and ask him to bring her a Lalaloopsy doll for her growing collection.
Brooke Olivieri, 10, got just what she wanted at the event.
“I just wanted to spend the day with my dad,” she said. Her father, Frank, was happy to oblige by taking her to the annual start to the holiday season.
Sarah Miller was pleased as a parent. Daughter Ella was in the parade with her dance class. As a downtown business owner, she was also happy.
“It’s very important,” she said. “Just look at how many people came out.”