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By Carmen Ensinger
For those who enjoy Winchester’s Hometown Christmas, they need able-bodied individuals to step up and help with the year’s planning of this year’s event if the tradition is going to continue to be the holiday event everyone looks forward to.
“Hopefully, this is going to be our Ninth Annual Hometown Christmas if we can get more volunteers to help with this one day event,” Hometown Christmas Planning Committee member Bobbi Jo Smith said. “Life has changed for many of the veteran volunteers who started out with this event and they can no longer devote the time it takes to prepare for and pull off Hometown Christmas.”
Currently, they are down to just three people who are planning and organizing the upcoming event – Smith, Stevie VanDeVelde and Sonnie Hoover.
“Without more people being engaged in the process, about all that we three remaining volunteers can handle is the decorating of Douglas Park,” Smith said. “Fortunately, the High School Key Club and their sponsors handle the highly anticipated Christmas Lighted Parade that everyone looks forward to.”
Traditionally, Hometown Christmas has been an all-day event with vendors set up within the buildings around the square and sometimes even in Douglas Park. Churches participate as well as the Old School Museum and all of this requires someone to manage.
“We need more help to organize the vendors at the various locations and even more help with all of the decorations planned for Douglas Park,” Smith said. “We also need help organizing and publicizing the various specials and attractions at different shops, the library, the Old School Museum, etcetera. Not to mention someone to manage the Hometown Christmas page.”
Smith said what they would really like to see is some “new blood” take an interest in the event.
“New blood brings new and fresh ideas to the table and, most importantly, the manpower to pull off those ideas,” she said. “We do not want this event to grow stale or die. To insure that it evolves and grows, we need more people to get involved.”
The next planning meeting for Hometown Christmas will be Sept. 28 at the Winchester Depot starting at 7 p.m. If you have any questions about the event or would be interested in getting involved, you may contact any of the current members. Bobbi Jo Smith, 217-370-8493; Stevie VanDeVelde, 217-370-7253 or Sonnie Hoover, 217-370-9826.
“We sincerely hope that more people will turn up to help keep this tradition going,” Smith said.