Community lights up as Christmas tree shines in Greencastle

Shawn Hardy
Echo Pilot

Center Square was full of the holiday spirit Friday evening as the Greencastle-Antrim community welcomed the holiday season at the Christmas tree-lighting ceremony.

The crowd ranged from tiny babies to senior citizens, with a number of decked out dogs in the mix.

The community was full of holiday spirit as a festive crowd packed Center Square for Greencastle's tree-light ceremony on Nov. 19, 2021.

Reindeer antlers on caps, light-up necklaces and a whole of red and green could be seen in the group that packed the Square, which was closed to traffic during the celebration. Holiday selections by the G-A High School Band and the G-AHS chapter of the Tri-M National Music Honor Society filled the air.

Trombone players dressed in the holiday spirit as the Greencastle-Antrim High School band performed at the tree-light ceremony on Nov. 19, 2021.

"It seems like we were just here two years ago,"Greg Hoover of WRGG, the evening's emcee, joked in a nod to the COVID-19 pandemic that prevented a celebration last year.

More photos: Community welcomes holiday season at Greencastle's Christmas tree-lighting ceremony

Coming soon: Deck the Halls: Greencastle gets ready for Heritage Christmas

The concolor fir gracing Center Square was planted by Gay Buchanan, her late husband, John, and their family nearly 40 years ago at their home. It was carefully pruned over the years for future use as the town Christmas tree and she nominated it several years ago. The property has since been purchased and added to Antrim Township Community Park and the township agreed to donate the tree as the 2021 holiday centerpiece.

Todd Streett as the town crier welcomed people with a poem about the tree-lighting ceremony in "the best little town this side of heaven."

Town crier Todd Street welcomed the crowd for the tree-lighting 'in the best little town this side of heaven' on Nov. 19, 2021, in Greencastle.

Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. led the crowd in the chant "We Are G-A" and encouraged them to support the community during the holiday season.

"This Christmas, you can shop big by shopping small," Thomas said.

Debby Cunningham, executive director of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce, thanked the tree-lighting sponsors and the community for its support.

Hudson Rowe, 1, with his mother Courtney Rowe, was all bundled for Greencastle's Christmas tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 19, 2021.

"Thank you, for being here," she said, with emphasis on the "you."

Liam Houpt, 8, selected as the grand marshal for the Greencastle Christmas parade the following day, was given the honor of illuminating the tree. The Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School third-grader is the son of Taryn Houpt and Ryan Hickey.

Liam Houpt, 8, chosen as grand marshal for the Christmas parade the following morning, lit Greencastle's Christmas tree with a magic wand on Nov. 19, 2021.

Liam was given a magic wand which he directed toward the tree as the lights went on. The tree is adorned with many Lights of Love dedicated in honor and memory of loves ones by people in the community.

Hailey Mason, left, snapped a selfie with her mother Heather Mason under Greencastle's Christmas tree after the tree-lighting ceremony on Nov. 19, 2021.

With the street set to reopen to traffic not long after the ceremony, the crowd dispersed fairly quickly, but not before many selfies were taken under and around the tree.

Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at