Canonsburg’s Christmas celebration will be a little more magical this year, since the Hallmark Channel has sponsored a new Christmas tree in front of the borough building.

Hallmark partnered with the borough on its Old Fashioned Christmas festival last year and plans to do the same this year. Lisa Scarmazzi, leader of the borough’s Christmas committee, said in an email Hallmark’s marketing representatives had asked what Canonsburg’s “wish list” was for this year’s event.

“Our previous tree had suffered from the elements and we were in the process of getting pricing on a new tree for our community,” she said in the email. “When I had mentioned this to these ladies, they asked that I forward them the cost of doing so, and within one day, had informed me that the Hallmark Channel would be thrilled to donate a new 12-foot Colorado fir Christmas tree to Canonsburg.”

The tree, lights and ornaments were purchased by Hallmark from PSH & Associates in Pittsburgh, who also planted the tree two weeks ago. The old tree was replanted in the Jean Popp Garden near the entrance of town, Scarmazzi said.

“As you can imagine, it had a sentimental value to the residents and employees of the borough who cared for it in past,” she said.

The new tree will have its inaugural lighting the first night of the Christmas celebration, at 6 p.m. Dec. 6. Like last year, The Hallmark Channel representatives will be there to pass out ornaments while supplies last.

“Hallmark Channel has held celebrations in other towns on many occasions over the years, but Canonsburg is the first town that reached out to us to partner with them on their own holiday celebration,” Hallmark representative Kaitlyn Haubrich said in an email.

Scarmazzi said Hallmark has been an incredible partner in the last two years the borough held the event.

“I can truly say that everyone I have worked with from their organization epitomizes the characters in their movie – kind, fun, caring and most of all, they love Christmas,” Scarmazzi said in an email.

The decorating committee, which has been working all year on Christmas decorations, is working to install window displays in the downtown businesses. They will be revealed after Thanksgiving to help spread Christmas cheer.

Also being installed after Thanksgiving, will be the borough’s corporate gingerbread house challenge and fundraiser. Companies that participated made a donation to receive a 4-by-4-foot wooded gingerbread house façade to decorate. Once completed, they will be placed along Pike Street in front of the Rite Aid plaza, with voting to happen during the weekend event. The winner will be announced the night of Dec. 7.

“The competition is fierce,” Scarmazzi said in an email. “These organizations are taking this pretty serious, and we can’t wait to see their creations.”

There will also be a community gingerbread house contest at the Hidden Treasures store. The main stage will have live Christmas music, classic carolers and a “Frozen” performance, while the Christmas Market will have a variety of vendors with holiday gifts, food and treats.

Bluestar USA will sell Christmas trees in the Rite Aid parking lot. Like last year, for every tree sold, the organization will donate one fully decorated tree and stand and deliver it to a local family in need, Scarmazzi said.

“We are asking that if you are buying a live tree this year, please do so here to give back to another family so that they too can enjoy the holidays,” she said.

The annual Christmas parade will begin at 5 p.m. Saturday. Photos with Santa will be available in the Senior Citizens Building, which will be transformed into Candy Cane Land. While waiting in line to drop hints to Santa, children can make Christmas cards that will be sent to military members abroad.

For updates and more information about the weekend Christmas festival, follow the committee’s Facebook page, Canonsburg’s Old Fashioned Christmas, or their website, at www.canonsburgchristmas.com.

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