Editorial: Christmas Past endures
Op-Ed · November 30, 2012

This weekend, temperatures will rise into the low to mid 50s, giving us warm weather for A Christmas Past.

There’s a slight chance of rain, but a much greater chance that we will see some of the best weather in years for the second-biggest event of the year in Bear country.

While there are plenty of events during the daytime hours of the Friday-through-Sunday festival, the early sunset puts a great deal of the favorite activities after dark. But the many downtown decorations, the glow coming from businesses staying open later, luminaries on Hoover Complex pathways, bonfires and street corner brick fireplaces give off a soft and warm glow that would inspire Thomas Kincade.

And the smells of freshly made hot cocoa, coffee, tea, soup, doughnuts, roasting marshmallows and hot dogs will mix together and trigger memories of a childhood, whether you lived nearby or miles and miles from West Branch.

Mix that in with the West Branch High School choir, the clop-clop-clop of horse-drawn carriages on Main Street, piped-in Christmas music and plenty of cheerful conversations and gleeful children running from place to place, the event captures the joy of the season that can only be found in small towns in America.

But all the things we have listed above are only a small portion of what Main Street West Branch and its many partners — churches, businesses and civic organizations — will bring together this weekend.

One of the new additions ought to draw curious crowds on Friday night: An ice sculptor who will craft just outside the MSWB office.

The Gibson Trains, adored by children, return again, though this year at the West Branch Fire Station to accommodate the large numbers they attract. The newly named Art Market will fill Town Hall, the fire department begins roasting hot dogs over a bonfire, and the aforementioned horse-drawn carriage rides will take visitors through the Hoover Complex.

The live nativity at the West Branch Methodist Church, the Young Footliters and Uncalled Four at the Hoover Museum, Santa & Mrs. Claus inside MSWB — it’s all there.

And, as always, most of the things to do, and most of the things to eat, are still completely free of charge.

Christmas Past is an aptly named citywide party that draws thousands of people who want to take a step back and enjoy a simple yet beautiful night out with friends and family.

It is a heartwarming event and we hope that everyone will take time out from their busy schedules to bask in the wonderful atmosphere of music, lights and aromas that will take you away to a memory-filled world.

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