Rotary and Christmas in Shepherdstown
Each winter holiday season, from November through January, the Rotary Club of Shepherdstown gives leadership to decorating a landmark town building, and to participating in the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade.
Decoration of historic McMurran Hall, an 1859 Greek revival building at the business district intersection of German and King Streets, begins with the acquisition and placement on the McMurran lawn of a perfectly-shaped Frazer Fir gifted by a local donor. This tree serves as the official Christmas tree of Shepherdstown throughout the holiday season.
On the third weekend of November, Rotarians bring ladders and tools to install wreaths with bows on the first and second story windows of McMurran Hall, and to drape its stately front doors with green garland illuminated with lights. At the same time, Rotarians decorate the official Christmas tree of Shepherdstown with strands of lights totaling about 1,000 energy-efficient bulbs and a tree-topper, all donated by members of the Club.
On the first weekend of December, the Club assembles a “Rotary Regiment” of members who don red and black outerwear and black top hats to march in the Shepherdstown Christmas Parade, escorted by an antique white Cadillac. Rotarians distribute candy to children and holiday greetings to all of the spectators along the parade route.
In the following mid-January, Rotarians again gather at McMurran Hall, this time to remove wreaths and garland from the building, de-decorate the Christmas tree, and place the decorations in storage. They close out the session by gathering around thermoses of coffee and boxes of doughnuts to reflect on the closing of the holiday season and the depth of winter to come.