Spencer lights up for holidays

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 9, 2011

By Robin Johnson
Hometown Holidays Committee
SPENCER — A crowd of almost 300 turned out for the Spencer Hometown Holidays tree lighting celebration last Friday at the Spencer Library Park. Volunteers from the Hometown Holidays Committee and Boy Scout Troop 349 spent the afternoon setting out 500 luminarias, which were lit at dusk. Troop 349, headed by scoutmasters David Billingsly and Philip Spahawn, made the luminaries.
Along with entertainment, there was lots of yummy food on hand. Cub Scout Troop 349 sold hot dogs with the help of Scoutmaster Angelia Bates. Bojangles of Spencer, managed by Shane Hunter, gave out free hot coffee and biscuits. Hunter called Hometown Holidays and asked to be a part of the event. “I just wanted to be involved with this great event,” he said..
Sisters Nelda and Betty Chunn, along with Naomi Heddinger, have been involved since the beginning. They have been representing the Spencer Eastern Star for the last three years.
“We are so happy to work with Hometown Holidays and love seeing the faces of all the children who show up. This is a great community event,” Betty Chunn said.
The Spencer Eastern Star, with the assistance of the Spencer Masonic Lodge, gave out nearly 250 cups of free hot chocolate.
As night fell, people of all ages braved the chill to enjoy enthusiastic performances by the Stepping Out Dance Company, the North Rowan High School Glee Club, and the G.L.O.W. performance club from North Hills Christian School. Singer and musician Adam Broyles gave a powerful a capella performance of a song by Casting Crowns.
The Circus Train performers from Central United Methodist Church put on a puppet show to tell the Christmas story and the true meaning of Christmas, after which Jim Gobbel and Robert Nance lit the Spencer Christmas tree. Beth Nance and Marla Gobbel performed emcee duties. The P.A. System was provided by David Freeze.
Children in the crowd were thrilled when Santa Claus appeared and spent the evening taking gift requests and putting in a few requests of his own for cookies and milk. Hay You the Clown, also known as Michael Decker, a member of the Spencer Masonic Lodge and four-time world balloon champion, made more than 300 balloon creations. Adults and kids alike enjoyed fun, fellowship and ringing in the holiday season on a mild December evening. The crowd was the largest yet for the Christmas in the Park event.
For more information on upcoming events including the Candlelight Tour of Churches, visit www.spencerhometownholidays.com
Robin Johnson is a Spencer native and freelance writer currently serving on the Hometown Holidays Committee. For more information, robindjohnson73@yahoo.com