When one of Cannonsburg’s oldest buildings, a three story barn dating back over 150 years, was fatally damaged in a flashflood of historic proportions, among the casualties were all of the village’s holiday decorations, including tens of thousands of dollars
King of Cannonsburg Don Kurylowicz doesn’t let much defeat him, and this holiday season, highlighted by a hauntingly lovely lighting ceremony held Monday, November 27, proved the point. Villagers gathered to the heart of the village in the evening to listen to music by the Rockford High School Brass Ensemble and await the arrival of Father Christmas before counting down the first view of a 100 foot Christmas tree decorated with over 1,000 lights.
“At the turn of the century (the turn of the century before the last turn of the century) there was a man who used to go around in a big bearskin coat and deliver presents to the children of the village,” Kurylowicz described. Today the tradition continued with Father Christmas arriving in a horse drawn carriage to the delight of children and adults alike.
Kurylowicz said the decoration of the village in full holiday splendour was achieved, in part, by donations toward the project. The donations are handled through the Cannonsburg Historical Society.
A highlight of this year’s efforts to allow Cannonsburg to sparkle again for the holidays include the lighting of not one but two Christmas trees. Cannonsburg’s traditional holiday tree is too close to the damaged barn for safety of crowds, so Kurylowicz had to come up with another solution. He chose in stead a huge pine adjacent to the parking lot at vacant property along Bear Creek.
A local builder donated an 80 foot boom to help decorate the towering tree and it was still impossible to reach the highest boughs, so Kurylowicz guessed the tree might even top 100 feet. When the music concluded, the lights went off and the hundreds of villagers helped Father Christmas count down the moment for the tree to be lit for the very first time.
Cheers and applause erupted at the sight of what is doubtless the largest Christmas tree many of the people have ever seen in their lives. Now through December 25, drive through Cannonsburg in the evening and enjoy the sight of the village lit up, celebrating the best of vintage Americana. Said Kurylowicz, “It’s Norman Rockwell come to life.”