It is the most wonderful time of the year, especially when Santa arrives in Shippensburg! He did just that on Saturday evening, Dec. 3, as the D.O.I.T.'s (Downtown Organizations Investing Together) 30th annual Christmas Parade rolled through town with lots of excitement, brightly colored lights, sounds of the season and loads of holiday spirit all around.

Numerous businesses and organizations were represented in this year’s parade making it one of the bigger parades the town has had in the past few years. Shippensburg Mayor Cathy Coy was really pleased with how the town’s businesses and organizations got together and participated in the parade.

“I thought Saturday’s parade was great; it was longer than in previous years and I loved the live music we had. I think that added a special touch to the evening’s festivities,” Coy stated.

She feels everyone did a great job, especially the Shippensburg High School Band and the Shippensburg University Marching Band. “It was good to see our local school district participating in the parade, they always put on such a great performance!”

Unfortunately one can never predict how Mother Nature will affect the parade, and this year was no different. Rain fell around the Shippensburg area most of the morning making for soggy conditions, however, by parade time the weather had improved to where the skies cleared but it turned much colder, and the wind was a tad chilly on the cheeks! One might say the conditions were perfect for Santa to arrive, except for the fact that there was no snow!

Santa did make his way through downtown, bringing up the rear of the parade to the delight of hundreds of children and parents who lined the streets to get a glimpse of the jolly ole’ fellow. After illuminating the Christmas tree at the corner of Prince and King streets, Santa made his way to the Christmas Market located at the Church of God Annex where crowds of shoppers were bustling from vendor to vendor to see what each had to offer. According to Market Organizer Cathy Eiswert, there were 30 vendors at this year’s market and all seemed to see successful sales. “I believe everyone did well this year,” Eiswert said. “There were a lot of shoppers from the time we opened at 4 p.m. until about 8:15 p.m. when things began to slow down. The wind was a bit of an issue at first, but everyone worked through it and I am pleased with how everything turned out.”

Youth from the Church of God handed out small books of John and small Bibles to visitors, helping to spread the good news of Jesus’ birth and proclaiming the joy that each of us should have at this time of year because of such an event as our savior’s birth. On behalf of the Church of God, Pastor Rodney Bistline said the church and its members were very honored and grateful to have had the opportunity to partner with their community friends and neighbors to bring the Christmas season together in such a special way. “We are thankful for all the volunteers and vendors who made the Christmas Market possible, and for all who came to participate,” Bistline stated. “The Christmas parade and all the festivities that D.O.I.T., Mayor Cathy Coy and others organized were all such a joy to see. There is so much to love about the Shippensburg Community!

The winners of the 30th Annual Shippensburg Christmas Parade were: first place, Shippensburg Oasis of Love Church; second Place, Pro Fence, LLC; and third place, Forrester Farm Equipment.

Winners in the walking division were first place, Dance Academy XIV; second place, Shippensburg Little League; and third place, Franklin County Seeing Eye Puppy Club.

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