Tunkhannock Businesses to Turn Up The Charm This Weekend
By Rick Hiduk
With its neat rows of three-story buildings constructed mostly in the 1800s, downtown Tunkhannock already exhibits the appearance of the perfect Christmas village that would accompany the tree in a perfectly decorated home. A little more than 15 years ago, approximately 20 downtown business owners decided to capitalize on that charm and conduct Christmas in Our Hometown, a two-day celebration that has grown, not only in the number of participating businesses but also in the number of activities associated with the annual event.
On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2 and 3, Historic Downtown Tunkhannock will be closed to vehicular traffic well into the evenings as throngs of people fill the streets to take in a wintry wonderland designed to satisfy the senses with sights, sounds, aromas, and flavors.
“It’s supposed to be a gift to the community,” Tunkhannock Business and Professional Association (TBPA) consultant and event coordinator Nancy Parlo said of Christmas in Our Hometown. She added that this year’s celebration has even greater significance to Tunkhannock because the town is still recovering from September flooding that reached record heights in the downtown area. Despite that fact, nearly 150 businesses and professionals now support the event.
According to Parlo, some of the biggest changes this year will include the extension of festival hours on Saturday evening to 9:30 p.m. Many patrons have indicated that the ambience of the event is enhanced when darkness falls, and it is not expected to be as cold this year as it has been in previous years. As of press time, the forecast was calling for seasonal temperatures with little chance for precipitation. The majority of the activities are confined to the two intersecting blocks of Tioga and Bridge Streets, which makes the event walk-able for most patrons.
Christmas in our Hometown will kick off at Peoples Neighborhood Bank on East Tioga Street at 5 p.m. on Friday with the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus, who will be greeted by Tunkhannock Mayor Norm Ball and his wife, Peg.
Horse and wagon rides and trolley rides will be offered throughout the evening, with the main transfer stations set up at the intersection of Tioga and Pine Streets and Bridge Street Marketplace. Students from Whipple Performing Arts Studio will be among the entertainers to present “living windows” performances at Greenwood’s Furniture on East Tioga Street, and the Dietrich Theater will offer a free screening of the Jim Henson film, “Emmet Otter’s Jugband Christmas” at 5:30 and 7 p.m.
A professional ice sculptor will exhibit his works at the Bridge Street Marketplace, and woodcarver Kevin Treat will demonstrate his skills in the B&R Distributors parking lot on Bridge Street. There will be a gingerbread house display and contest at Robinson’s Martial Arts Studio on East Tioga Street, and live nativity performances by numerous local churches throughout the evening at the corner of Tioga and Bridge Streets on the Dietrich Theater lawn.
Most of the evening activities will be repeated on Saturday evening. In addition to shoppers’ specials offered during the day by downtown stores and eateries, the Dietrich Theater will offer a workshop for patrons of all ages from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Christmas in our Hometown patrons are also invited to see the Dietrich Theater’s Earnshaw Gallery, which has been decorated for the season by a network television set designer. There is also an antique Christmas dollhouse display by Amy Colley and an exhibit of antique toys put together by Patrick Robinson.
Ebb’s Creative Landscaping helped TBPA by decorating the historic street light lampposts throughout town, to which adoption tags purchased by Tunkhannock area businesses and individuals have been affixed.
Tunkhannock Public Library will sponsor the stage production, “The 12 days of Christmas,” which will be held at Tunkhannock Area High School at 7 p.m. on Saturday and again at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 3.
For more details on Christmas in Our Hometown activities and sponsors, readers may log on to www.tunkhannockbusiness.com. For more information about activities at the Dietrich Theater, readers may call 570-996-1500.