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Downtown Salisbury hosts Holiday Night Out

By Kathy Chaffin
Sisters Emma and Hannah Poole of Woodleaf placed their letters in Santa’s Mailbox on the square of downtown Salisbury Friday during Holiday Night Out.
Four-year-old Emma’s letter said, “I hope you’re having a good day” and related her Christmas list: a Vet Pet Care Center and a pony named Honey. Six-year-old Hannah’s letter assured Santa that she had been a good girl this year.
The daughters of Christina and Danny Poole, they seemed to be enjoying the Holiday Night Out activities. After mailing their Santa letters, they joined their 11-year-old cousin, Maddie Wagoner, in posing for a photo with the Grinch.
Maddie and her mother, Sandra, who is Danny’s sister, drove from their home in Faith for the family outing.
While the three girls flashed big smiles for their photo with the Grinch, 17-month-old Madison Castro began crying loudly the moment she saw him. Her 7-year-old brother, Ethan, however liked him.
Madison and Ethan were at Holiday Night Out with their parents, Stephanie and Justin Castro. They live off Woodleaf Road.
Ethan’s favorite part was the candy, and he said he wanted “a robot that cleans my room” for Christmas.
The Castros were joined by Justin’s parents, Lanta and Larry Castro of Salisbury, and his brother, Bryan and Amanda Castro of Charleston, W.Va., and their daughters, 3-year-old Kali and 6-year-old Mikinzi.
Lanta said their other son, Shawn, his wife Leighann, and their daughter, Allison, were also down from Charleston, W.Va., for the Thanksgiving holiday. “We had a houseful,” she said.
Next to The Literary Book Post, Bethany Gareis, Anna Fisher, Peggy Fisher, Bill Fisher and Lee Fisher handed out brochures for Students in Training ó a nonprofit, after-school organization for which students refurbish donated computers and equipment, build Web pages and set up networks before distributing them to low-income families.
The group is holding its annual Christmas computer sale fundraiser. Call 704-637-8915, Ext. 202, to place an order or make a donation.
In the display area of Wooden Stone gallery on South Main, Howard Reinheardt of Salisbury carved a Celtic cross Christmas ornament. A wide variety of his handcarved ornaments are on sale at Wooden Stone for $6 to $15.
Reinheardt has been carving Christmas ornaments for 35 to 40 years, he said, and started carving violins seven years ago.
Back out on the sidewalk, brother and sister Briggs and Maria Hudson sat on a bench while eating ice cream from Innes Street Drug. Eight-year-old Briggs selected the cookies and cream flavor while 7-year-old Maria chose cotton candy.
Their father, Glenn, stood nearby, holding the family dog, Archie, on a leash. Archie’s big teeth intimidate some people, Glenn said, “but he’s a big baby.”
Archie teeth are very visible because of his huge underbite. People “joke if I left him out in the rain, he’d drown,” Glenn said.
He greets Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus, aka Katherine and Mitch Houck. Mrs. Santa says they’ve got a busy schedule, including an appearance at the Bell Tower from 10 a.m. to noon today. The Grinch will be there as well.
It seems Glenn Hudson knows Santa, having invited him to a party after he and his wife adopted Maria from Guatemala. They asked all their friends to come have their children’s photos made with him for donations, which they sent to the orphanage from which they adopted Maria.
On up the street, Jeff Grubb and Cody Hancock, both of Salisbury, signed people up for carriage rides with Sara McCubbins’ Horse & Carriage Ltd. Around 25 people had gone for rides an hour and a half into the 5-9 p.m. Holiday Night Out.
Over on North Main, Lauren Sechler and Charles Pharr were enjoying the activities with their daughter, 2-year-old Brionna. It seems Brionna had just given one of her pacifiers to Santa to give to a little baby, Sechler said.
Brionna pointed out, however, that Sechler still has her pink pacifier in her pocket. Santa will get that one later, Sechler responded.
Across the street, there was a lot of activity at Just the Thing teaching store. Owner Glenda Dyson said of the crowd inside, “We’ve been very busy.”
The store has had 52 transactions all day, she said, and a few hundred shoppers in and out. “Lots of people are shopping,” she said. “It’s certainly not down. It may be a little bit up from what we did last year at this time.”
Two images of the Milky Way’s core as seen by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, Spitzer Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory were displayed on easels in the store’s windows, where they will remain through Dec. 7.
Staff of the Margaret C. Woodson Planetarium at Horizons Unlimited ó one of nine sites in North Carolina selected to receive the images for permanent display ó were on hand to answer questions along with members of the Astronomical Society of Rowan County.
Each image shows the telescope’s different wavelength view of the central region of our galaxy and illustrates not only the unique science each observatory conducts, but also how far astronomy has come in the 400 years since Galileo first turned a spyglass to the heavens.
Roger Overcash of the Astronomical Society of Rowan County said members would have telescopes set up behind the building later in the evening for viewing the moon and Jupiter.
On down East Innes, Summer Carpenter and her mother, Jamala, waited beside of a “Santa Will Be Here Tonight” sign outside of Dee’s Jewelers with their miniature chihuahua. Within minutes, Jason Carpenter emerged from the store with his and Jamala’s other two children, Zoe and Abby.
Seven-year-old Zoe wants a Transformers bike for Christmas, while 5-year-old Abby said she wants a Barbie bike. Their older sister, Summer, just wants a cell phone.
Just down the street, a crowd had begun to gather in front of Okey Dokey & Co. to hear the Funk City Blues band comprised of brothers Chobey and Nick Badgio and Darrell and Ethan Howard, all of Rowan County.
Downtown stores were open late for people who wanted to shop and offered special goodies and sales for Holiday NIght Out.
Contact Kathy Chaffin at 704-797-4249.


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