Local holiday events encourage singing, lamp lighting and tea drinking

Paul Dueber, left, and Bill Steidel sing “Christmastime in Our Hometown” following the lamp lighting ceremony in Sandpiper Square in 2013. Steidel wrote the song for the Dueber family in 1967.

It isn’t officially the holiday season in Cannon Beach until the symbolic lamp in Sandpiper Square has been lit, a tradition dating to 1973. This year’s lamp lighting ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. Dec. 6.

Two fifth graders from Cannon Beach attending Seaside Heights Elementary School — Maggie Neuwirth, daughter of Heather and Blake Neuwirth, and Lilli Taylor, daughter of Kelly and Brian Taylor — will do the honors.

The gathering, conducted the first weekend after Thanksgiving, is “always very well attended, and people love seeing their neighbors and second-homeowners show up,” said Margo Dueber, the master of ceremonies who organizes the event.

Singers from the Seaside High School Choir will entertain, and Bill Steidel will sing his “Christmas in Our Hometown,” an original song he wrote for the Dueber family when Paul Dueber, Sr. died on Christmas Day 1967, Margo Dueber said. Steidel has sung the song every year since then at both Christmas plays and lamp lightings, she said.

The whole ceremony is expected to last a half-hour, she said.

The annual lamp lighting began at a time when few people visited Cannon Beach during the winter and town merchants were devising new ways of bringing people to the beach, Margo Dueber said. For years, the ceremony had a Dickensian flair; attendees dressed as though they were in mid-19th century England.

It marks “the beginning of the Christmas spirit” and the warmth that comes with it, Steidel said.

Until his health started to fade in 2010, Cannon Beach resident Jay Schwehr served as the lamp lighter. Every day during the holiday season, he lit the lamps along Hemlock Street before Coaster Properties retired all but the one in Sandpiper Square, Margo Dueber said.

Schwehr died Nov. 23, 2013.

Before the lamp lighting ceremony, the Cannon Beach Library will offer its Old-Fashioned Dickens Christmas Tea from 1 to 4 p.m. Guests visit by the fireplace and enjoy home-baked cookies and sip tea and cider. It is the library’s thank-you to everyone who has helped the library volunteers during the year.

As Christmas nears, Cannon Beach becomes awash in the holiday spirit. Business adorn themselves in festive decorations and twinkling lights, and they host many community events.

• The Coaster Theatre’s holiday show is “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast” on weekends through Dec. 28. Evening shows start at 7; Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. Visit the theater’s website for schedules.

• Mimosa Madness, a town-wide shopping extravaganza, lasts from 8 to 11 a.m. Nov. 28. Gift wrapping is available at the Coaster Theatre from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• The Cannon Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a holiday wreath-making event — complete with an instructor, refreshments and holiday music — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 29 and Dec. 6.

• Celebrate the sounds of the season with the Cannon Beach Chorus’s Christmas concert at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 7 in the Cannon Beach Community Church. Tickets are $10 per person.

• Santa Claus is coming to town for a “pictures with Santa” event — a fundraiser for the Cannon Beach Preschool & Children’s Center — from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 13 in the Chamber of Commerce Community Hall.

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