SHICKSHINNY – It wasn't just a celebration of the holiday season in Shickshinny on Saturday; it also was a way for residents to celebrate recovery from the 2011 flood.
Many of those gathered at the borough's Municipal Park for the Christmas in the Park reflected on the resiliency of the residents in facing the challenges of the past year.
The parade and gathering was filled with both the sights and sounds of the season, as members of Shickshinny's United Methodist Church choir clad in smiles and Santa hats provided holiday music to accompany the activities of the day.
Mother Nature also cooperated as the first snowflakes of the season danced in the air, with young people chasing them and trying to catch them on their tongues.
Lona Scarpa, committee chairwoman of Cub Scout Pack 17, smiled as she looked at the crowd. She remembered the event was canceled last year because of flooding.
It makes the whole thing even more special this year, said Scarpa, who herself experienced flooding of her home in Mocanaqua.
Derek and Trevor Dietz, and Aiden Scarpa were among the Scouts who walked in the parade and said they were having a really fun time.
Jim Gooden, volunteering as Santa Claus, also reflected a spirit of gratitude and celebration as he listened to the Christmas lists of children who smiled as they peered up into his cheery face.
This is a great opportunity to give back to others and to fully experience community, said Gooden.
Paula Summers of the Shickshinny Business Association, which co-sponsored the event, said Shickshinny was experiencing recovery and growth. Summers said new businesses had moved onto Main Street and more were expected.
We are moving in the right direction, said Summers, and we are very positive about this area.
Pastor Larry Smith, Almedia, said he felt very positive about both the season and the area. He said the holiday gave him a chance to share his faith with others.
Flori Davis of New York attended with nine members and three generations of her family.
This will definitely be a new family tradition, said Davis.
Kevin Morris of the Shickshinny Fire Department said he looks forward to many more Christmas festivals in years to come.