A crowd toasts marshmallows outside Ranson’s Town Hall last year as the city formally kicked off the holiday season. Besides the free s’mores kits – a new offering that proved popular – this year’s event includes the tree lighting, visits with Santa and Mrs. Claus, songs from the county’s high school and middle school bands, free wagon rides and more. 
RANSON — S’mores, a poplar staple in the city’s annual Christmas tree-lighting ceremony, will be replaced this year with “marshmallows on a stick over an open fire,” said Debbie McClure, director of the city’s convention and visitors bureau.
“We made 500 s’mores last year and we ran out in an hour,” she said.
McClure acknowledges that handing a child a marshmallow on a stick doesn’t matchup with s’mores—a marshmallow and a chunk of chocolate squished between two graham crackers.
The s’mores were made by women who work in Ranson’s City Hall, McClure said,
Ranson’s 2019 Christmas celebration begins Nov. 30, with the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree in Lancaster Circle at 6 p.m. The evening’s festivities continue to 8 p.m. 
The tree wasn’t just put therefor this celebration,” McClure said. “It’s been a year-round fixture downtown. It’s part of the the downtown landscape”. 
She said if the turnout for the 2018 tree-lighting event is any indication, the area around Lancaster Circle will be jammed with residents and visitors on the evening of Nov. 30. 
Santa Claus and Mrs. Santa will kick off the celebration by arriving in a horse-drawn sleigh along with other holiday dignitaries including the Grinch, Cindy Lou Who, Frosty the Snowman and the elves. 
“Santa will climb down from the sled and mix and mingle with the children as they gather around him there and again later under a big white tent the city is putting up, McClure said.
Children and adults will have two more chances to see Santa, first at a Breakfast with Santa at the Independent Fire Company fire hall Dec. 7 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. A week later, Lunch with Santa will be served at the Ranson Civic Center Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  
This year for the first time, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and individuals, gift bags containing hats and gloves of various sizes will be given to children or to anyone who asks for one, McClure said.
“Gingerbread Lane in Ranson” returns with teams from Ranson Elementary and Wright Denny Intermediate schools. The students will design and paint four-foot tall plywood gingerbread and cottage cutouts. Three winners will earn cash prizes for their schools with $250 for taking first place, $150 for second and $75 for third. 
The competition will be judge by members of the community. Ballots and voting boxes are available at local businesses.
The major holiday event of the season, the one drawing the biggest audience, is the combined Charles Town/Ranson Christmas Parade Dec. 7 at 2 p.m. It begins at the Southern States store at 222 North Mildred St. in Ranson, marches to Washington Street in Charles Town, turns right there and ends at the Jefferson County Community Ministries 238 W. Washington St.
Bands from Jefferson County’s two high schools and from from Charles Town, Harpers Ferry and Wildwood middle schools will also march.
Elsewhere in the county Shepherdstown will hold its annual Christmas parade Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. The day before, Harpers Ferry’s Old Tyme Christmas runs Dec. 6 through Dec. 15.

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