Hampton Township gears up for holiday events and programs

Wednesday, November 20, 2019 | 10:15 AM

Festive fireworks will kick off Hampton Township’s Seasons Greeting Celebration on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.

The five-minute fireworks display will be the start of the free family-friendly event being held at the township community center on McCully Road in Allison Park. The evening will – naturally – feature Santa Claus and his sleigh-runner companion Rudolph, who will be escorted by both of Hampton Township’s volunteer fire departments, according to Bill Ryder, program coordinator for Hampton Township.

Children can get their photo taken for free with Santa, thanks to Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, The Preferred Realty Hampton Office, he said.

Then guests can warm up next to an outdoor fire pit, enjoying free hot chocolate or coffee. Complimentary holiday-themed cookies will be provided courtesy of Brent Heitzenroder of Hefren-Tillotson’s Wexford location.

Pittsburgh musician Lou Schreiber will be on the keyboard providing a seasonal soundtrack.

A few new things are happening this year, including a performance by Warrendale’s Premier Dance Company, according to Ryder. In addition, Gibsonia’s Mazzotta Winery will have wine to purchase and Dave’s Country Meats, of Valencia, will also have samples on hand.

The building itself will be worth the visit, according to Melanie Martino of the township community services department.

“There is a lot of hard work put in by the staff members who help decorate to make the building look festive, not only for the Holiday Celebration but also for all of the residents or members who are in the building throughout the holiday season,” Martino said.

Elf on the Shelf Search Contest

Another holiday happening in Hampton this month is an Elf on the Shelf Search Contest, which is currently underway at the community center. From Nov. 26 until Dec. 20, locals can test out their best detective skills looking for an elf, who, despite the misleading description, may not be on a shelf.

“This is new this year. It is for children of all ages young at heart,” Ryder said.

Elf on the Shelf Search papers will be available at the Community Center Service Desk. “Happy” will be changing his hiding spot regularly. The dates of when he makes his move will be noted on the search paper. When the elf is found, community center desk staff will stamp the search paper, according to Ryder. Those who collect five stamps on their search paper will be entered for a prize, which will be announced on Dec. 23.

Martino is super excited about the elf search.

“I hope that everyone will enjoy this activity. I am looking forward to Happy the Elf being at the Community Center during the Holidays and we hope that he brings happiness to people and families while they are at the center,” Martino said.

Presents from Police

And in the spirit of the season, donations for the Presents from Police program will be accepted until Dec. 16. New and unwrapped presents can be brought either to the police station off of McCully Road or the community center. The program, started by Aspinwall Officer David Nemec almost 10 years ago, encourages the community to donate toys for children, which local police will deliver to patients at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, according to Hampton Township website.

Hampton has been a regular participant and has received quite a big response from community members in the past, according to Hampton Police Officer Chris Finnigan.

He and other officers transport Hampton’s donations to the hospital a few days after the collection ends. There, they team up with police staff from other departments in the area to pass out gifts.

Last year, there were so many that they had some of the patients grab two or three gifts each. The reaction was rewarding in itself, Finnigan said: “Their eyes are huge.”

It’s a favorite activity for him for the year.

“Seeing them happy as they are for that moment, that’s really great,” said Finnigan, who’s been with the Hampton police department for 14 years.

For more information on these programs, visit the township website at hampton-pa.org.