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‘Hometown Christmas’ set for today in Chester

CHESTER — The city is celebrating the holiday season and gathering on today for the 33rd-Annual Hometown Christmas built around the theme of “A Christmas Story.”

“I think it’s something everyone looks forward to every year, and everybody comes out for it,” said Shana Adams, Hometown Christmas Committee treasurer.

Committee member Kristi O’Rourke said, “It’s a day to bring friends and family together and to get in the holiday sprit.”

The storefronts along Carolina Avenue are decorated to bring a Chester twist to the classic Christmas movie. Saturday’s festivities begin at 9 a.m. and there will be a Chinese auction, street vendors, children’s crafts and events starting at 10 a.m., a chili cook off and photos with Santa. The events are taking place around Carolina Avenue in the American Legion, city park pavilion and volunteer fire department.

The parade travels down Carolina Avenue and wraps up the day. Lineup starts at 2 p.m. and the parade is at 3 p.m. The Oak Glen High School girls soccer, volleyball and football teams as the grand marshals, Santa and Mrs. Claus will also have floats in the parade as will local community groups and business.

“It’s always good to bring the community together. I couldn’t live in a place so big I didn’t know my neighbor,” O’Rourke said. “I think it keeps the community together, and I think it gives people a sense of pride in their community.”

The Chester Hometown Christmas Committee has been involved in the event for the last 33 years, the founding members no longer participate but the committee has continued. There are eight committee members, and each manages a specific part of the community festivity. The committee has been planning the festivities for a few months.

Adams has been with the committee for four years and is responsible for the parade. O’Rourke has been with the committee for five years and plans the Chinese auction. All the committee members help with the children’s events.

The committee selects the theme each year by reviewing previous years’ themes and brainstorms ideas that fit the community. This year they selected “A Christmas Story” after the classic Christmas movie.

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