Goshen News, Goshen, IN

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December 8, 2012

Yuletide-themed First Fridays draws visitors to downtown Goshen

GOSHEN — Nine-year-old Dylan Horning and his 6-year-old sister, Eva, stood between their parents, Michelle and Chad Horning, singing Christmas carols.

The Goshen family was waiting for the lighting of the Christmas tree on the corner of Main Street and West Washington during the First Fridays event in downtown Goshen.

“We’re trying to pretend snow is falling instead of the fog,” Michelle Horning said, while holding a luminary. “It’s very nice to be outside. We’ve been out here lots of times for First Fridays. We live close by.”

Dylan was looking forward to his favorite part of First Fridays — hot cocoa.

“I’m happy but I’m cold,” he said.

Eva said she likes the way the lights shine on the tree.

“It’s colorful,” she said.

Their dad enjoys attending the events whenever possible. Living nearby makes it easy for the family, he said.

“I’m glad to be a part of this community and come every chance I get,” Horning said.

Goshen Mayor Allan Kauffman was also on hand for the tree-lighting ceremony. He apologized to the audience for the lack of snow.

“I’m sorry we don’t have any, but you know they say if you wait five minutes in Indiana, it might change,” Kauffman said with a laugh. “I am grateful to the First Friday event staff for all this. It’s great to be here.”

Then Kauffman presented a key to the city of Goshen to the Paflas family and Olympia Candy Store personnel in honor of the Olympia’s 100th anniversary.

“They are an icon in this community and have been here longer than I can remember. Between my father and me, we have been going to the Olympia for its 100 years,” Kauffman said.

Then it was time to light the tree with help from the official tree-lighters, Boden and Pippin Stutsman, respectively age 7 and 4, son and daughter of Jeremy Stutsman and Maija Walters Stutsman of Goshen.

A box with a lever was on the stage near the tree and Boden pushed the lever up when the crowd counted down to one. Pippin was awestruck with all the activity and let her brother do the work.

Downtown Goshen Inc. Director Gina Leichty smiled while watching the official tree-lighters.

“This is a bigger crowd than we’ve had in the past for the tree-lighting ceremony. This is a good community event and it’s good to see people out,” Leichty said. “...There is so much collective goodwill in this town to make it successful.”

First Fridays is a monthly event highlighting the commercial and artistic offerings in downtown Goshen. For more information, visit the website www.cityonthego.org.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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