Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Newburgh Celebrates Christmas

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Newburgh Celebrates Christmas

Article excerpt

In the mid-1800s, the town of Newburgh was in its prime. With a bustling riverfront and crowded stores, the town seemed destined to become a large river city. At the same time, large Christmas celebrations were becoming more popular. The holiday had long been known as a somber occasion, but that changed after the publication of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" in 1843.

Two years ago, Historic Newburgh, Inc. (HNI) Executive Director Carol Schaefer brought those two things together on the first weekend of December. Newburgh Celebrates Christmas has costumed characters, carolers, musicians and more. It helps promote the Christmas season as well as the town's stores. This year's event will be Dec. 7 and 8.

"We're trying to create an 1800s look," Schaefer said. "Everybody has read Dickens, and when you think of Christmas, those stories take you back to the 1800s. And that is also when Christmas became what we think of Christmas today. Before the industrial revolution, you didn't have those colorful balls and decorations. It was a romantic time."

Because the major railroads passed Newburgh by in the 1800s, the downtown never really changed. Many of the buildings in the Historic District are much more than 100 years old. Schaefer thinks that's part of what makes Newburgh Celebrates Christmas popular with shoppers.

"I think it is the magic of transforming the town back to the time these buildings were built," Schaefer said. "I do think of this as a street musical."

As in years past, there will be groups of singers and musicians performing at various locations. Anyone who wants to participate is welcome, though HNI does try to keep the groups far enough away from each other so that each may be easily heard. The Little Old Dam Band will be playing 1 to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8.

The costumed characters are mostly just local residents. Some of them get costumes from HNI, but many have the costumes on their own. Because of that, it's impossible to know just how many costumed people will be walking around the downtown area this year.

"The past couple years, it's been around 75," Schaefer said. …

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