Christmas in Berlin

Community launches season with emphasis on true meaning of holiday

By CHRISTINE L. PRATT Staff Writer Published:

Calling people back to the true meaning of the season is the focus of Christmas in Berlin.

On Nov. 23, community members hope to help visitors and themselves keep priorities in line at a time when they can easily be forgotten.

For years, the event has been highlighted by a live Nativity parade, which will step off from the parking lot of Berlin Village Gift Barn at 5:45 p.m., according to Ruth Schlabach, owner of Berlin Village Gift Barn, Country Gatherings and Moxie.

Led by trumpeters, the parade is based on the actual Christmas story and includes animals -- many of which are supplied by the Farm at Walnut Creek, shepherds, angels and carolers, all marching westward to the square. Participants -- from area churches and businesses -- all are garbed in clothes indicative of Biblical times.

Following the parade, visitors can enjoy a candle-lighting ceremony with the reading of the Christmas story, singing of more Christmas carols and the lighting of the village tree.

It's an attraction that, despite massive advertising, brings in a growing number of participants and spectators every year, said Schlabach. "I think it's that ... it tells the simple story of Christ's birth, and we celebrate that part of it more than it usually is today."

There will be no appearance by Santa Claus.

"The community comes together and puts it on. They're all volunteers. The kids love it and love to be in it," she said. "It's a very unusual parade from what you normally see. It's down home ... Children love it. There are lot of animals. The spirit and the feeling of that evening here in Berlin are indescribable."

In celebration of the event, many of the local stores observe extended hours, remaining open into the late evening.

Reporter Christine L. Pratt can be reached at 330-674-5676 or by email at cpratt@the-daily-record.com.

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