Celebrate! Annville, a newly formed subcommittee of Friends of Old Annville (FOOA), will ring in its first holiday season by putting up holiday decorations in Annville and hosting several festive events.

Melanie Chapter, a 15-year North Annville Township resident and president of Celebrate! Annville, spoke with LebTown about how the FOOA subcommittee was formed.

“What sparked it was a question on the Annville-Cleona Facebook page about the Memorial Day parade and decorations around the holidays, and why don’t those things happen anymore,” Chapter remembered. “So, Barb Dumbauld had said, you know, it takes a committee to get those things put together and funding to do those things.”

Chapter decided to lead the organization after Dumbauld said she was willing to be involved with the subcommittee but not as president.

“The conversation [about Celebrate! Annville] started about a year and a half ago,” Chapter said. “And then, ultimately, I want to say it was July or August that we had our first meeting with some people that were interested in making this happen.”

The core of the subcommittee is currently made up of Barb Dumbauld, Matt (treasurer) and Mary (secretary) Woolson, Anne Achenbach, Kat and Trevor Webster, Vera Koch, and Lauren Ganster.

“Right now, we are a small committee that is still looking for volunteers,” Chapter said.

The subcommittee usually meets for about an hour on the second or third Tuesday of each month at the Annville train station, 155 N. Moyer St., to plan fundraising campaigns and events.

Chapter said FOOA and Celebrate! Annville align in their mission to promote “community togetherness” in Annville, often through holding community events. “They were happy to see this come together and wanted to be able to help us,” she said.

“We are a subcommittee of FOOA. But we are, for all intents and purposes, a stand-alone committee,” Chapter said. “So, while we are under them and we are under their nonprofit status, we do all of our own fundraising. We maintain our own bank account. And we pay all of our own expenses.”

Matt Woolson serves as treasurer for FOOA and Celebrate! Annville. He is currently the only volunteer who is involved with both committees.

The subcommittee’s holiday festivities start on Sunday, Nov. 26, when guests can get their picture taken with Santa between 1 and 4 p.m. at the Annville train station, 155 N. Moyer St.

“We have a professional photographer who volunteered their time to take those photos and make minimal edits,” Chapter said of Two Miller’s Photography.

A $10 ticket, which can be reserved on Celebrate! Annville’s Facebook page, buys a printed photograph, a frame, a link to the digital file, and a candy cane or pet treat. Pets are permitted at the event.

Then, at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, Santa will arrive on a fire engine at the Allen Theatre & Backstage Cafe, 36 E. Main St.

Children can give their Christmas wish lists to Santa and watch Christmas movies being screened at the theatre. Guests can also enjoy light refreshments during the free annual event scheduled until 11 a.m.

Later that day, Celebrate! Annville will continue the tradition of the Christmas tree lighting, starting at 6 p.m., in front of Whirling Dervish Bakery & Coffee Shop, 50 W. Main St.

According to a release from the newly formed subcommittee, this year’s Christmas tree lighting will be funded in honor of Al and Beverly Yingst of Annville. For more than two decades, Al Yingst acted as secretary of Annville’s Memorial Day Parade.

Before the tree is lit and Santa again arrives on a fire engine, guests can listen to a Christmas blessing and sing carols with Annville-Cleona school choirs and the Washington Band. Light refreshments will be offered.

During the tree-lighting event, the winners of the raffle baskets will be announced.

Tickets will be on sale in front of Swatara Coffee Co., 104 W. Main St., on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., on Friday, Nov. 24, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m., and on Saturday, Nov. 25, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Alternatively, those interested in purchasing raffle basket tickets can email happyeverythingannville@gmail.com to order tickets and coordinate payment pick-up.

Another initiative that Celebrate! Annville is currently promoting is a poinsettia sale. The festive flowering plants can be preordered through the subcommittee’s Facebook page.

Pick-up is set for Saturday, Dec. 2, between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. at the Annville train station, 155 N. Moyer St.

Those interested in joining the subcommittee or attending the upcoming festivities can visit Celebrate! Annville’s Facebook page or email happyeverythingannville@gmail.com for more information. Chapter said the inbox is checked multiple times per day.

Those interested in monetarily contributing can send checks to P.O. Box 99 in Annville. The subcommittee will purchase wreaths for the routes 422 and 934 intersection as well as Main Street in the Annville historic district through its current fundraisers.

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Lexi Gonzalez is a reporter for LebTown. She is currently completing her bachelor's degree at Lebanon Valley College.


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