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Santa, Christmas tree spark holiday spirit; borough holds annual holiday event at kierch

By Phyllis Zimmerman, Special to the Press & Journal
Posted 12/4/19

A Christmas miracle happened last week in Middletown.

Thanks to an “astounding” list of volunteers and donations, a sparkling new Santa house was unveiled at the borough’s annual …

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Santa, Christmas tree spark holiday spirit; borough holds annual holiday event at kierch

Posted

A Christmas miracle happened last week in Middletown.

Thanks to an “astounding” list of volunteers and donations, a sparkling new Santa house was unveiled at the borough’s annual tree lighting ceremony Saturday.

It was a moment that some feared might not happen this year considering the circumstances behind it.

On Nov. 19, Middletown Borough Council voted to stop using the previous Santa house after borough officials were made aware of its ties to alleged sexual abuse in Londonderry Township. The tree-lighting ceremony was less than two weeks away.

As it turned out, Middletown didn’t let that happen. A virtual army of local volunteers, businesses and organizations sprung into action for the cause, completing a whimsical new Santa house out of donated materials for the borough’s children in roughly a week’s time. Mayor James H. Curry III referred to the many who contributed time and materials to the project as “the team of angels.”

“Without the team of angels helping us, we would not have had this (Santa house) happen this year. Within 24 hours of the announcement (about the previous Santa house closure), people were calling us up with donations of $1,000,” Curry told the crowd of hundreds who gathered for the unveiling and tree lighting at South Union and High streets at St. Peter’s Kierch on Saturday night.

Curry then introduced a video that highlighted the expedient efforts of the many who contributed to Santa’s new house just before the house was unveiled. At first sight of brightly lit red and white Santa house, the crowd broke into collective rounds of “oohs” and “aaahs.”

“It’s a Christmas miracle,” an emotional Curry said.

This year’s borough Christmas tree was donated by Dianne Billy of Lower Swatara Township. The 37-foot tree was procured from her front yard.