Story and photos by Mark Carpenter –
A chilly but seasonal Saturday evening welcomed hundred of guests, young and old, to the lawn in front of the Adams County Courthouse for the sixth annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony. Though the lighting was the highlight of the evening, many other activities took place around the courthouse as a dose of holiday spirit made its way to the county over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Work from local kitchens got the day off to a “tasty” start with a Christmas, with a Christmas Cookie Contest for youth and adults. The overall winner was Melissa Grooms, while the adult winners were: First Place- jen Matthews, Second Place- Pat Stevens, and Third Place- Jessica McCann. In the youth category, first place went to Blake Grooms, second place went to the combined efforts of Kirsten Burns and Myah James, while third place went to Connor Grooms.
With the chilly air, a Chili Cookoff seemed appropriate and the winners were: First Place- Pat Stevens, Second Place- Becky Lewis, and Third Place- Mary Banks.
As daylight drifted away, the always popular Liberty Band gathered in front of the courthouse and entertained the assembling crowd with their version of holiday favorites, followed by former Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway, resplendent in a holiday red blazer, took over the emcee duties for the annual Christmas parade down Main Street in West Union. The holiday spirit filled the streets as floats and decorated vehicles brought smiles to the faces of those in attendance, as did the appearance on one float of a certain jolly old fellow in a red suit. The Fairview Community Church was awarded Best of Parade for their float entry.
After the parade, the crowd’s attention turned to the courthouse lawn again for the annual tree lighting ceremony. As the countdown from 10 concluded, the honor of lighting this year’s tree went to the Wickerham brothers-Dan, Bill, and Mark, lifelong residents of Adams County and the sons of John and Carol Wickerham of West Union, and three men committed to making the Adams County community a better place to live. With the flip of a switch, the tree was lit for all to enjoy during the 2016 Christmas season.
The festivities did not end there, as the young people began to gravitate towards the corner of the courthouse stairs where awaiting them was the big man from the North Pole, who had taken time out of what surely has to be a busy schedule, to stop and listen to the many Christmas wishes that were abundant. Some youngsters hopped right into Santa’s lap, while others were a bit more hesitant, but all got their chance to tell what they wanted to find under their tree on Christmas morning.
One of the final events of the evening was an Ugly Sweater Contest, with the winners being Kelli Begley, Vacilya Begley, and Sophie Johnson.