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Mon Valley communities put spotlight on Christmas season

Communities in the Mon Valley are planning traditional light-up night activities the week of Thanksgiving to herald in the holidays.

Brownsville will celebrate the season Friday. with community-wide luminaries, caroling and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus at the historic Nemacolin Castle at 136 Front St.

“We are proud that we are able to bring the community together for Light-Up Night. We appreciate everything that the residents do to make this a successful event,” says Frank Ricco, president of the Greater Brownsville Area Chamber of Commerce.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be the grand marshals for light-up night’s eight-mile procession of more than 40 holiday-decorated emergency vehicles, which begins at 6 p.m. at Hiller Volunteer Fire Co., 937 First St. The parade will go through Hiller, South Brownsville, across the Inter-County Bridge to West Brownsville and Blainesburg; and then return to Brownsville via the Lane Bane Bridge.

Santa is scheduled to arrive at 7:30 p.m. at the castle, where Santa and his helpers will distribute free treats to youngsters.

During the parade, Front Street will be limited to inbound traffic to the castle. Brashear Street will be restricted to outbound traffic heading to Route 40.

To light up the community with luminaries, local businesses and organizations have donated almost 3,000 plastic jugs to hold the long-burning candles. Brownsville Bus Lines will prepare the jugs and has stored them until they to be distributed, along with the candles the Greater Brownsville Chamber of Commerce has purchased.

The Nemacolin Castle will open at 4 p.m. Friday for a holiday tour, the first night for candlelight tours. Wassail and cookies are part of the holiday tour, which will feature decorations in 14 rooms and the main hallway of the 22-room castle.

The Bentworth Ministerium Community Choir will conduct a special holiday concert at the castle at 6 p.m., followed by the Brownsville Area High School band performing Christmas music from 7 p.m. until Santa’s arrival.

Natalie Zuchelkowski, a master storyteller, will tell a Christmas tale for children and guide them in making a bag of reindeer food. The castle grounds will have colonial era and Civil War encampments.

The Brownsville Historical Society will sell food and hot beverages. Several arts and crafts vendors will sell their wares,

The historical society’s candlelight tours will be held Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.; and Saturdays and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., through Dec. 28. The castle will be closed Christmas Day and Dec. 26.

The candlelight tours are $8 for adults and $4 for children 12 years old and under.

At the Monongahela Valley Hospital, the 30th annual light-up night will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the outdoor Central Plaza at the hospital’s campus along Route 88 in Carroll Township.

The evening will feature Frosty the Snowman, free hot chocolate and a sing-along before two children flip the giant light switch to illuminate the holiday decorations throughout the hospital facility.

The Charleroi High School Show Choir will sing carols and entertain the crowd and an ensemble from Charleroi Marching Band will lead Santa’s sleigh onto campus. Children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The Auxiliary of Mon-Vale Health Resources, Inc. will sell baked goods as well as hot dogs and punch.

Parking will be free in the hospital’s parking garage for those exiting after 7 p.m.

For more information, contact the hospital’s community relations department at 724-258-1234.

Charleroi will celebrate the opening of the holiday season with a tree lighting ceremony, the singing of Christmas carols, face painting and the arrival of Santa from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Market House at 427 McKean Ave.


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