Making holiday memories in Gettysburg
I’ve always loved Christmas in Gettysburg. Growing up I loved seeing Frosty the Snowman on the Square and so many of the other decorations that were eventually lost in one of the fires that plagued Gettysburg in the early 1980’s. I remember vividly the February 10, 1983 fire that turned the historic Gettysburg Hotel into a burned out shell. It stood that way for 8 years until its grand re-opening May 15, 1991 as the Gettysburg Hotel, Best Western.
Now, every Black Friday at 6pm we get to hear Santa say those magical words “Light That Tree” while he’s standing on the beautiful front porch of the Hotel. We had a very magical tree lighting this year. Santa was brought to town in a WWII jeep courtesy of the WWII American Experience Museum. I can’t help but think that President Eisenhower would’ve been very excited and proud to have watched this happen. A 5 Star General who commanded the allied invasion, D-Day, June 6, 1944 on the beaches of Normandy, and later chose Gettysburg as the place he and Mamie called home; the only home that he and Mamie ever owned. Eisenhower also used the Hotel as his office during 1956 while recuperating from a heart attack.
After Santa’s arrival and lighting of the Gettysburg Christmas Tree, he hung out his shingle and was open for business greeting 2-legged and 4-legged fans at his Shanty. Maybe shanty isn’t the right word to use anymore as Santa’s little Gettysburg home has been repainted to have a Gingerbread House appearance. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out (much deserved credit to our painter and artist Norm Joyner for its beautiful new look). I hope that everyone gets a chance to visit Santa and create a great Gettysburg Christmas memory.
Helping to spread more Christmas cheer this holiday season, GARMA’s elves will once again be giving out $1000 in GARMA gift certificates to random shoppers. We enjoyed this so much last year that we’ve decided to make this an annual tradition. Last year shoppers were so excited to receive “free money” toward their purchases. However, sometimes if something sounds too good to be true it’s hard to fathom that it is. I will always have this great memory of trying to give a customer a gift certificate to use toward their lunch and the customer refusing because they didn’t believe me. So, I turned to the next table and gave the gift certificate to an ecstatic patron who stated, “I read that this was going to happen, I can’t believe I got picked”. If you’re approached by one of our elves, take the gift certificate!
Free parking is available again during the holiday season. Parking is free Monday – Thursday, all day, on the square, the first block off the square, and the first block of Steinwehr Ave. Please be mindful of the 3 hour limit.
I’m also excited to welcome two new GARMA members. The WWII American Experience Museum at 845 Crooked Creek Rd. and The Lincoln Diner on Carlisle St. For a complete list of our GARMA members go to www.gettysburgretailmerchants.com. Have a great holiday season!
Jennie Dillon is the President of GARMA and owner of Artworks, 30 York St.
So much holiday fun in Gettysburg
The holidays are rapidly approaching and GARMA is ready to kick off the season!
GARMA starts the month of November with First Friday, Gettysburg Style on November 4th. If you haven’t started your holiday shopping, start now on First Friday!
The official start to the holiday season is GARMA’s Annual Gettysburg Tree Lighting event on November 25th, Black Friday. Festivities start around 5:30 with holiday music and free hot chocolate courtesy of the Gettysburg Hotel. Santa arrives in downtown Gettysburg to light the tree at 6 PM, after which he will greet everyone at his Shanty. We are excited to unveil a new look for Santa’s Shanty this year! No hints, and no peeking! We will have it covered until Santa’s arrival.
The following weekend, December 2nd – 4th, is the ever popular and exciting A Gettysburg Christmas Festival presented by Main Street Gettysburg. This year GARMA will be taking ownership of the three Wishing Wells that are placed throughout town. When you see a Wishing Well make sure to fill out a Wish Slip and tuck it in the bucket. Slips will be drawn during the Festival with prizes being provided by GARMA members. Plan your weekend so you have plenty of time to shop and have some fun.
The Adams County Arts Council has two great events happening the same weekend as A Gettysburg Christmas Festival. The annual Jingle Ball will be held at the Gettysburg Foundation/Visitor Center on Saturday, December 3rd. If you’ve always wanted a chance to dress up and go to a Ball, this is your opportunity. Treat yourself to fine dining and dancing all while supporting arts in Adams County.
ACAC will also be sponsoring their Gingerbread Celebration and Holiday Mart the same weekend as the Festival. If you’ve ever thought about building a Gingerbread House, well now is the time. Enter your Gingerbread masterpiece for a chance to win cash prizes (and we could all use some cash!).
To add to your Gettysburg shopping experience, we welcome new GARMA member Dawg Gone Bees. They are located in the same building (just a different part) as GARMA member Gettysburg Olive Oil Co. at 430 Baltimore St. You may have heard of them before as they have a sister store on the square of New Oxford.
We also welcome back as a GARMA member Town and Campus at 8 Carlisle St. If you haven’t heard, Town and Campus is under new ownership! Same great stylists and services. We’re so happy that Nico and his staff are still a fixture in downtown Gettysburg.
GARMA Gift Certificates make great gifts and are spendable at almost all GARMA members. You can purchase them at Artworks, 30 York St. and Gettysburg Heritage Center at 240 Steinwehr Ave.
For a complete list of GARMA members visit www.gettysburgretailmerchants.com.
Jennie Dillon is the President of GARMA and owner of Artworks.