WELLSBORO, Pa. — From reindeer at one end of the street to a live nativity at the other end of the street, Wellsboro comes alive again this weekend to preserve its history and share some holiday fun.
Julie Vanness, executive director of the Wellsboro Chamber of Commerce, has a special connection to this event which features the village’s history of Christmas decorations.
Historically, “1939 was the dawn of WWII. The British blockade was effectively blocking imported goods from Europe, including all glass Christmas ornaments, which had been made in Germany up to that time. As the Christmas season was approaching, American wholesale companies wondered how they would meet the expected demand for more than 250 million handmade ornaments,” she explained.
“The Corning Glass Works had a small factory in Wellsboro. At the time they had a special machine that made lightbulbs. When they were asked to make America’s ornaments, they turned to the factory in Wellsboro,” she added. “The factory rose to the challenge to save Christmas, and turned Wellsboro into the "Glass Christmas Ornament Capital of the World."
Over the last few years the Chamber has been conducting interviews with people who used to work in the factory to preserve the story of Wellsboro’s contribution to saving Christmas during the war.
Vanness recalled that her grandmother worked at the factory and that for years the family’s Christmas tree has been covered with what has come to be known as Shiny Brite ornaments.
“We used to get a new ornament every year,” Vanness said.
This weekend’s Christmas On Main Street celebration helps to preserve the story of Wellsboro’s wartime contribution to saving Christmas.
During this weekend’s celebration, visit 25 locations displaying the Shiny Brite ornaments made in the Wellsboro factory. Buy a passport at any of the locations, get it stamped at 10 or more locations to be entered into a raffle for one of three gift baskets with gift cards and merchandise worth at least $100.
Historic ornament display passports must be turned in at one of the display locations by closing time on Saturday. The last drop off is the front desk of the Sherwood Motel, Penn Wells Hotel, or Penn Wells Lodge.
Other highlights of Christmas on Main Street include trunk sales at several merchants, craft and vendor sales, photos with Santa, chocolate and wine tastings, and free trolley rides. Saturday there will be music in various stores and sing-a-longs, movies, and a live nativity on the Deane Center lawn from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. while at the other end of the street from noon to 4 p.m. between the Methodist Church and Sherwin-Williams Paint Store visit Santa’s reindeer courtesy of Spruce Run Farm.
But while the fun is never ending, visitors can also relax and get a complimentary chair massage at Emmerge Healing Arts and spa or enjoy a Candy Cane Sundae with Santa's Elves at Senior's Creations/Main Street Olive Oil or at 2 p.m. Saturday talk with Oregon Hill Wineries vintners and get a free sample at Dunham’s Furniture Store.
At 7 p.m. Saturday there is a "Sound of Music" Sing-A-Long at the Warehouse Theatre and at 7:30 p.m. the Corvettes Doo-Wop Revue, takes place at the Deane Center for the Performing Arts Coolidge Theater.
Sunday things wind down with a Messiah Community Sing at 2:30 p.m. at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located at Pearl and Charles Streets.
For more information about Christmas on Main Street go to www.wellsborochristmasonmainstreet.com