On Centre: Around Philipsburg | Carols ring in the season, new bakery brings the treats

Let’s play a word association game. I say Christmas. You say...?

I guarantee that a number of people just said “cookies.” Another good chunk just said “carols.” It’s not surprising. I mean, some things just go together like, well, milk and cookies.

Philipsburg used to have a bakery that defined cookies. Fitzgibbons was so synonymous with, in particular, the world’s absolute best raisin-filled cookies that even though that wasn’t even the name of the bakery anymore when my family moved here in the mid-1980s, I never knew it as anything else. But sadly, that pastry shop closed more than 10 years ago. We have had others try to fill the void, but it’s been a good while since your tasty cookie fix could be handled by anything but a grocery store.

Until last month.

That’s when Chef Laura Immel, a graduate of Penn College’s pastry arts program, opened Butter Me Up Bakery on Second Street. Her shop offers fresh doughnuts, luscious cupcakes, and yes, rich, buttery-good cookies. They are baked and frosted fresh all day, right in the shop.

Now let’s talk carols. On Friday at 6 p.m., Philipsburg’s South Park will be the scene of a community Christmas caroling event. People will gather to sing in the decorated park, promoting a little civic harmony with some musical harmony.

But what does that have to do with cookies? Everything. Cookies are the fuel of Christmas caroling.

Whether you are singing or just listening, hot chocolate and cookies will be served during and after the caroling at nearby First Baptist Church. Cookies are being donated by Butter Me Up, as well as some of Philipsburg’s best home cookie makers. Mixing up some of your grandma’s best gingerbread? Feel free to bring a nice plate of it.

The important thing is to have fun, to sing with your neighbors and snack on something sweet. That’s the best way to butter everybody up for the holidays.