Commonwealth Journal


December 8, 2008

Somerset: A Christmas Village

Christmas on Square, parade both holiday hits

For one magical night, downtown Somerset transformed into a genuine Christmas village. One could walk down the city sidewalks — cozy bulbs burning bright into the dark evening sky and the sound of holiday music dancing in the air — and pop inside nearly any door for cookies, punch, and a good old-fashioned smile.

The next morning, the community put that Christmas magic on wheels and took the show on the road.

This chilly December weekend played host to Somerset’s traditional welcoming of the Yuletide season, with Friday’s “Christmas on the Square” event and Saturday’s Christmas parade.

Among the highlights: Pulaski Judge-Executive Barty Bullock and Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler working in tandem to turn on the lights bedecking the 20-foot spruce tree lodged in the Fountain Square throughout the holiday season; lots of creative floats moseying down Main Street; and the town’s yearly visit by the Big Man, in the flesh — Santa Claus.

Of course, being Santa and all, the jolly old elf has connections. Using his pull with Judge Bullock, Santa found time Friday to sit in the lobby of the county courthouse and hear the Christmas wishes of child after child. Then St. Nick worked out his annual deal with Jack Keeney and the Somerset-Pulaski County Chamber of Commerce to take a ride in the South Kentucky RECC truck in the big Christmas parade and wave to all his adoring fans.

• The theme for this year’s festivities was “Christmas in the 1940s,” but Friday night felt less like a peek into the past and more like a picture-perfect portrait of Somerset’s present. Though much of the town’s commercial lifeblood is off the sidewalks and out on the highway, a core group of committed businesses and civic leaders have kept downtown alive, and the “open house” in which numerous downtown businesses took part provided the perfect opportunity to show appreciation for these local champions.

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