Christmas Market to help kick off season in Shippensburg on Friday
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Christmas Market to help kick off season in Shippensburg on Friday

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A “Welcome to Shippensburg, PA.” sign sits along Walnut Bottom Road as you head into the borough.

The new Shippensburg Christmas Market will highlight an evening of family festivities Friday as the community kicks off the holiday season.

It will follow the 27th annual Christmas parade, sponsored by Shippensburg Downtown Organizations Investing Together, at 7 p.m. The parade will move along King Street for the tree-lighting ceremony at the corner of King and Prince streets.

Immediately afterward, Santa will greet children at Orrstown Bank’s King Street location. The public is also invited to take carriage rides and visit the new Christmas Market.

Sponsored by the Shippensburg First Church of God in partnership with DOIT, the Christmas Market will be held at the church annex on the corner of King and Prince streets.

“What we wanted to do as a church is to partner with local businesses and give them an opportunity to display their goods coming into the Christmas season,” said the Rev. Jim Rogers, senior pastor at the Shippensburg First Church of God. “We’re decorating the parking lot as a winter wonderland, and we’ve invited local vendors. So far, we have about 20 vendors.

“Everything is free, and all the proceeds go to local businesses.”

Rogers said there will also be a living Nativity, children’s activities, live reindeer, live Christmas music presented by the church choir and door prizes donated by local businesses. Refreshments will include hot cider, Christmas cookies and hot chocolate.

“Hot Chocolate Around the World” is based on the theme of this year’s parade, “Christmas Around the World.” Visitors will be able to sample hot chocolate recipes from other parts of the world.

“The folks from DOIT came up with the idea of ‘Hot Chocolate Around the World’ because the theme is ‘Christmas Around the World,’ and hot chocolate is different (in other countries),” Rogers said. “We’ll have the standard kind, plus hot chocolate from three or four other countries. People will have the opportunity to pick the hot chocolates they want to try.”

Rogers and his wife came up with the idea for the Christmas Market after watching Hallmark movies.

“My wife and I were driving around one day and just started brainstorming,” he said. “We’re big movie fans of Hallmark, and we got the idea from there, where they have different outdoor festivals. We thought about doing something like this in Shippensburg.

“I took the idea to our outreach committee at church and they liked it, so we went to DOIT and pitched the idea to them, and they liked it.”

In case of snow or rain, the parade will be canceled. However, the Christmas Market will be rescheduled, Rogers said.

He said he hopes to make the Christmas Market an annual event.

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