Bald Eagle

On Centre | Bald Eagle Area: Snow Shoe shifts site for Christmas tree, plans contest for lighting honor

On Nov. 30, a lucky boy or girl will make history in Snow Shoe.

He or she will flick a switch and a giant Christmas tree will shine, capping the first tree-lighting ceremony in Snow Shoe Park.

For the past few years, Snow Shoe’s holiday beacon has illuminated the front of the Snow Shoe Fire Company. But there was a problem.

“Unfortunately, not everybody goes through town in order to see the tree,” said Laurie Hall, a member of the ceremony committee.

The solution was simple: Move the tree to the park just outside the borough off state Route 144.

“That way, about 99 percent of the people are going to see the tree,” Hall said.

A lot of folks helped make the opportunity possible.

Once again, the fire company is allowing a tree to be harvested on its property. It’s also throwing in a bucket truck for some large-scale trimming.

“It’ll be big,” Hall said. “Trust me. When we go out and get a tree, it’s not a 12-footer.”

Local businessman Dave Tobias donated the funds for an animated bell display, as did Jim and Terry Cramer, who own a local garage. The bells will flank the tree.

As in past years, Mountaintop Area Elementary School classes will supply ornaments. Power for the lights will come from the Snow Shoe Park, Snow Shoe Lions Club and Snow Shoe Veterans of Foreign Wars post — indirectly. The organizations are footing the electric bill for December.

But that’s not all. Hall’s Market, owned by Hall and her husband, Jason, are donating a lighted Nativity scene, and Kellie Long, the director of the Bald Eagle Area High School marching band, has agreed to bring her musicians for a short parade to the park before the lighting ceremony.

“We have such a strong community up here,” Laurie Hall said. “It’s nice that we rely on each other to help each other, and this is just another example of it.”

Also lending a hand are Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, who are expected to arrive on a fire engine and hand out candy canes to children.

Some day, Laurie Hall hopes, she can organize a holiday festival and craft fair around the tree-lighting ceremony. But for now, she’ll settle for a parade starting at 4:30 p.m. by the Mountaintop Area Swimming Pool, a blessing by a priest and pastor at the park and then a tree ablaze with lights by 5 p.m.

One child will do the honors. At Hall’s Market, hopefuls no older than fifth-graders can place their names in the running in a box — not to be confused with the big red box in the supermarket for dropping off letters to Santa Claus from Nov. 30 to Dec. 15.

One flick, and the holidays officially will start in Snow Shoe.

“The lights get turned on, and it’s just wonderful,” Laurie Hall said. “It’s an incredible feeling to see these kids. They just light up like the Christmas tree.”