Bald Eagle

A very merry Milesburg welcomes Santa, opens holiday season

The Poesse brothers of Milesburg assured Santa Claus that they have been good all year.

The two ran along Mill Street with their mother, Jeannine Daughty, near the post office just to tell him what they want for Christmas.

With breaths of steam coming from their mouths, Jason Poesse, 7, and his little brother, Jeremy Poesse, 6, both asked for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles action figures to go with the costumes they wore on Halloween. Jeremy also wanted “Despicable Me” on DVD.

“I’ll have to check to make sure you boys are on the nice list this year,” said Mike McCartney, who was dressed as Santa.

“We are!” Jason assured him.

They then walked away with a cup of goodies and a candy cane.

McCartney said interacting with those who still believe is what brings joy to his job after 20 years of dressing up as the holiday icon.

“That’s the most rewarding part because you can bring a light to their eyes,” he said.

McCartney walked up and down the streets of Milesburg most of the day Saturday mingling with residents as part of the borough’s third annual Home Town Christmas. He rang a bell, waved to passers-by and mingled with those walking the streets.

The Milesburg native and his wife, Jennifer, who often dresses like Mrs. Claus, are the holiday centerpieces to events around Centre County. And for the couple, each year gets busier and busier.

“The phone is ringing off the hook in the North Pole,” Mike McCartney said with a laugh.

Sandy Dieterle, a member of Borough Council and owner of Two Olde Tyme Friends, initiated the event as a way to show people the perks of the borough while celebrating the holidays. The event also fell on Small Business Saturday, a day started by American Express designated for patrons to shop at locally-owned businesses.

“I’m sentimental at heart,” she said. “This is really a way for the whole community to come together and really want it to be nice here. People can see what we offer and it puts Milesburg back on the map.”

Nearly every business and organization in Milesburg was a part of the event. Businesses, churches and other organizations played Christmas music outside of the facilities and offered treats to the public.

At the Milesburg Fire Company, families were slow to make their way to the facility, but visitors picked up around lunchtime.

The department offered free hot dogs and baked goods, while fire personnel gave children a tour of the garage, said firefighter Brett Hanley.

“All of our apparatuses are here,” he said. “We show kids around and we think they just love this kind of stuff. We’re here to show the community what we do to help serve them.”

The Milesburg American Legion donated $2,000 to help light the community Christmas tree and other businesses like Miller’s Hoagies, Shear Science and Eagle Valley Personal Care Home offered door and raffle prizes.

Downtown, the Red Hat singers performed carols with the accompaniment of Bald Eagle Area marching band students.

Melody Carnage was walking her dog Trixie while singing along to “Deck the Halls.”

“It’s the perfect event to really kick the holidays into gear,” Carnage said. “It kind of makes me want to go home, call up the kids and have a family day of drinking eggnog, setting up the tree and watching Christmas movies.”