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November 24, 2008

Frostburg’s Main Street aglow with festive look for the holidays

New decorations designed to stand up to wind, other rough weather

CUMBERLAND — Driving along Main Street, the street lamps are encircled by red halos, evidence left by the Frostburg elves busily decorating the downtown for the holiday season.

The project came about through the collaborative efforts of Jack Dishong and Karen Bingman, co-chairs for the Day of Caring and Sharing, sponsored by the County United Way.

“We both mutually came up with the idea that Frostburg needed new Christmas decorations,” Dishong said. “The concept was tried about 25 years ago by the garden club, but the engineering of the steel structure was not strong enough to stand the Frostburg winds and weather. So we re-engineered the idea and gave it new life.”

With this idea in hand, Dishong and Bingman approached Barb Armstrong, president of the Foundation of Frostburg, to set up a fund for the project.

“The Foundation of Frostburg, founded in 1995, is a nonprofit group that accepts funds for projects that enhance and improve our community,” Armstrong said. “We accepted the donations for the Lamppost Fund with the first monies paid out to create the halo wreaths.”

The beginning of the process consisted of creating a steel structure to withstand the Frostburg wind and weather and, thanks to Keith Skidmore, a local welder, and the use of Savage Cycles bending equipment, they were made.

The next step was done by another group of volunteers, who put on the lights and greenery. This group of elves — Bill Bingman, Calvin Blankenship, Michelle Walker, Cathy and Albert Miller, Petty and Ron Kealy, Lois Hann, Irene Spataro, Nancy Crawley, Jerilyn Jackson and John Kirby — spent approximately 150 hours in production alone. They then worked from midnight to 7 a.m. to install the decorations that could be seen lit up for the first time last Wednesday. They will also aid in the removal and storage of the wreaths.

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