Christmas Past spreads holiday cheer

Costumed participants of the Jingle Bell 5K line up on Saturday during Oil City’s Christmas Past. (By Jamie Hunt)

Oil City’s Christmas Past brought holiday cheer to town over the weekend with what now has become a tradition for many.

Saturday’s events kicked off as the Jingle Bell 5K took to the streets at 9 a.m.

Around 90 people of all ages, some in holiday costumes, could be seen running or walking from downtown to the marina.

Keegan Kirkwood, 16, a 10th grade student at Oil City High School, was the first to complete the run at 18 minutes and 12 seconds.

While the Jingle Bell 5K was taking place outdoors in rather warm temperatures for December, crowds were filling the Belles Lettres Club, Grace United Methodist Church, Knights of Columbus and YWCA for the highly anticipated Victorian bazaars and sweet treats cookie sale.

Visitors mentioned that each of these were main parts of their holiday shopping each year.

The loss of Kathy Bailey this year was also on people’s minds because she was instrumental in so many of the good things taking place in town.

Rebekah Deal, who organizes the Jingle Bell 5K said that it was taking place in Kathy’s honor this year.

Marla McVay, who organizes the craft and vendor show at the Knights of Columbus, said that they were also offering a free gourmet hot chocolate bar in memory of all that Bailey did for the holiday celebration.

Local organizations, once again, were filled with hand-crafted items and other unique gifts while the Oil City Library hosted fun activities for children.

Local businesses were also packed with folks passing through on their way to shop or enjoy some of the activities for kids.

The library’s theater offered a movie for the second year as its renovation project continues to progress.

Downtown, fine art was offered at the Graffiti Gallery and Transit Arts Gallery and Gifts shop.

People could also stop by and see the Christmas tree exhibit at the Venango Museum of Art, Science and Industry, which had 20 trees this year.

Oil City Mayor Bill Moon also mentioned that “volunteers are the ones who make it possible for everyone to have enjoyable things to do.”

With all that was offered during Oil City’s 23rd Annual Christmas Past, the season of giving was visible throughout the weekend.