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Photos by Dale Smith.
A Living Nativity scene on Canal Street Friday night brought into focus the true mean of the holiday season. Participants were from St. Paul’s Catholic Church in New Smyrna Beach. In the inset photo, Tiona Stone, 4, of New Smyrna Beach, reacts to the chugging of the kiddie train she boarded that just took off on Canal Street Saturday morning. Tiona is the daughter of Brandon and Lacey Stone. The family enjoyed the sights and sounds of Coastal Market on Canal, including seeing Santa Claus. "Christmas on Canal" was a veritable wonderland for countless families looking for bargains at the start of the holiday shopping season.
Editor's note: The following story was submitted by contributing writer Dale Smith:
NEW SMYRNA BEACH – Festive holiday carols echoed up and down Canal Street Friday night as merchants kicked off Christmas on Canal with a gala Christmas tree lighting ceremony and holiday cheer. And the holiday cheer continued well into Saturday with kiddie rides and other festive activities designed to make "Christmas on Canal" a positive shopping experience for families.
Photos by Dale Smith.
Sparky, aka Bill McCaine of the New Smyrna Beach Fire Department, got lots of hugs and handshakes from youngsters during Coastal Market on Canal Street Saturday. Sparky gets a big embrace from 2 ½-year-old Lori Walker of New Smyrna Beach. Storyteller Sandra Thomas reads to many youngsters during the course of the day on Canal Street Saturday as part of the Coastal Market. Payten Gintz, 4, snuggles just a little bit closer to listen to the end of her story. Payten is the daughter of Brian and Shannon Gintz of Edgewater.In the smaller photo below, an unidentified boy poses for a photo with Santa.
Christmas Park, located at the intersection of Canal Street and Live Oak Street, was gaily decorated with Santa’s house open for the little ones who whispered their best kept secrets of what they wanted for Christmas.
Nearby, a stage provided the venue for Christmas carols and holiday musical favorites.
The Servants’ Quarter Fellowship Chime Choir provided synchronized music through the use of chimes, much like the older and more recognized sounds from a bell choir.
Pastor David Starkey said the New Smyrna Beach/Edgewater congregation worships 9>30 a.m. Sundays . at the New Smyrna Beach Middle School. The church is 13 years old and is affiliated with the Southern Baptists.
“This is our second year participating in Christmas on Canal Street,” Starkey said. “We enjoy coming here to bring our music. Whenever the choirs stop singing, we fill in with our chimes.”
Neiman and Katie, two American draft horses, have come to New Smyrna Beach with their owners, Judy Dickson and Dixie Mesick of Ormond Beach, for the past seven years to participate in holiday festivities on Canal Street, pulling young and old alike around the historic downtown. City commissioner Jack Grasty toured Canal Street during the Coastal Market event Saturday and ran into a Christmas tree, well, not literally. The tree is really Ursula Lang who was all decked out. She is part of the theatrical group from The Little Theatre in New Smyrna Beach.
Several hundred gathered at the park to listen to the music. Some brought their lawn chairs, while others stood, mingled, or simply strolled by. But no matter what each person was doing, at the end of each choral rendition, the applause was loud and clear.
“This is what the holidays are all about,” said one parent walking by another parent hanging on to a stroller, standing transfixed at the side of the stage. “The music gets me into the spirit.”
About the contributing writer:
Dale Smith is a resident of New Smyrna Beach, who has reported on local news in Volusia County since October 2009. His writing background includes a mix of journalism and public relations in several community newspapers and a p.r. firm in northern Virginia. He attended Barton Academy in Barton, Vt., and the Cambridge (Mass.) School of Broadcasting for radio & TV broadcasting.