Delaware State News photos/Marc Clery
DOVER — The month of December blew into the city of Dover and the Capital Holiday Celebration turned Loockerman Street into its own little version of the North Pole on a clear and chilly Thursday evening.
Horse-drawn carriages, hot cocoa, bags of peppermint candies, chocolate chip cookies, children dressed up as characters from the Nutcracker ballet, and other seasonal characters, were a common sight.
Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen counted down from 10 just moments after 6 p.m. before lighting up the huge Christmas tree located in front of City Hall, officially ushering in the capital’s holiday season.
Mayor Christiansen joked that it was 70 degrees on Wednesday and dropped to 17 degrees on Thursday – perfect winter holiday weather.
Well, it was actually 49 degrees, but a chilly breeze made it feel a little bit colder than that. It was nothing that hot cocoa and cookies from the Kiwanis Club of Dover and Dover Place Senior Living Community couldn’t cure.
“This event is absolutely awesome,” said Corinthia Cubbage, of Dover. “I’m capturing every moment of what Christmas is all about. I’ve got my hot cocoa, cookie and I’m here with my son (Dorian) and we’re doing it up.
“This is just a great time of the year because everybody comes together.”
Several members of Dover’s City Council led off the singing at the celebration with “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” before Kent County legislators and Levy Court commissioners sang “Deck the Halls.”
However, the biggest applause was reserved for the tiny performers from The Little School at Kids Cottage and Wesley Preschool and Playcare.
The Dover High School Select Ensemble sang “Angels from the Realms of Glory” and St. John’s Lutheran School ended the singing portion of the event with “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
The holiday spirit quickly spread through the crowd, many of which were small children perched on the shoulders of their parents.
After all, Santa Claus arrived in downtown Dover on an antique fire truck to ignite their wonder.
At the end of the tree lighting ceremony and singing, families walked with Santa Claus and kids from The Children’s Theatre Inc. to Santa’s House at Loockerman Way Plaza.
The Capital Holiday Celebration stretched from the Dover Public Library, where children got the chance to make crafts and Nutcracker ballet dance excerpts were performed by the Delaware Ballet in the library’s Reading Circle, all the way down to near the Duncan Center.
It was all very exciting for Hartly’s Sharon Burge.
“This is great,” she said. “I’m ready for the holidays. I’ve got all of my Christmas shopping done already and t’s all wrapped and everything.
“I just love all of the lights downtown. It really is beautiful.”
Past the beautiful Living Nativity at Wesley United Methodist Church and down the street at Loockerman Way Plaza, holiday music was performed by Imagine, the I Believe in Dover Holiday Ensemble, Carolers on the Green, as well as Ensembles by Deep Water and Cornerstone churches.
The I Believe in Dover Holiday Ensemble consisted of six musicians from Caesar Rodney High School, all wearing bright red Santa Claus hats.
“We’re excited to be out here,” said Eli Mahall, a senior at Caesar Rodney. “We’re just going to play as many songs as we can and try our best to get people in the mood for Christmas. It’s a little cold, but that’s a good thing.”
Mr. Mahall said his favorite Christmas song is “Holly Jolly Christmas,” but added that he enjoys playing several others, as well.
Just around the corner from the musicians, employees from Edgewell Personal Care were handing out free bags of cookies to get people in the holiday spirit.
Marti Wilson, of Edgewell, said the company had more than 35 volunteers who baked cookies for the event.
“We are ready to give out a bunch of cookies,” she said. “We have about 300 dozen. We’ve been busy. It took us over four hours to get them all bagged.
“This is a great night. Thankfully the rain left us and I can’t wait to see Santa Claus.”
The big guy in the red suit did finally make his appearance. Then it was back to the North Pole for 23 more days of preparation for his big night.
Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.