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Nazareth’s Candlelight Tour Gives Visitors a Taste of History

Visitors of historic downtown Nazareth took to the streets to learn more about the town’s history.

About 200 visitors delighted in the sights and sounds of the of Nazareth Saturday evening. The crisp, cool night under a nearly full moon proved to be a good night for a walk.

The tour has been a Nazareth tradition for about 27 years, said Linda Crook. Her mother, Evelyn Huth, began the tour as part of Nazareth’s heritage celebration, she said.

Crook said her mother was a history teacher and she continued the tour in order to teach people about Nazareth’s history.

“She could teach people without them realizing they were being taught,” Crook said.

As for herself, Crook said she stays involved in the tour because it is part of her tradition, and she enjoys seeing friends and neighbors come out for the tour.

Today, the tour is organized by Kelly Givens, the business manager of the , and Mollie Santee, the director of resource development at .

“Right after this, we’ll start planning for next year,” Givens said.

The event has about 100 volunteers, according to Givens. They include performers, musicians, singers and helpers at each stop, as well as 12 guides dressed in period garb and volunteers who carry lanterns to each stop.

The tour consisted of six stops: the Whitefield House Museum and Gray Cottage, the C.F. Martin Homestead, Moravian Hall Square, , , and .

Visitors were treated to a live nativity scene at Moravian Hall Square. From there, they were bused up to Holy Family Catholic Church where they heard Christmas carols and readings, and could grab a cookie or two.

A brass quintet, East Coast Sound, serenaded visitors as they strolled through the Moravian Historical Society's museum. And they participated in the Lovefeast at the Nazareth Moravian Church.

At the library, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus came downstairs and greeted guests. They gathered in the meeting room, and he read “The Polar Express” beside the Christmas tree as the flames in the fireplace flickered.

Alice Yeakel, a library employee, said this was the first year that the C.F. Martin homestead was open for the tour. It was added because the Moravian gift shop closed in June, she said. Throughout the week, the house serves as the offices for the .

Dick Boak, a employee, dressed in a suit reminiscent of the early 1800s and played the part of C.F. Martin Sr. Boak told visitors the story of Martin’s early life in Germany and that he learned to make guitars in Vienna, Austria. He followed the chronology of Martin’s life, his immigration to the United States with his wife and children, and the company’s history.

“It’s my honor to talk to you tonight,” Boak said.

As a company spokesperson, Boak travels with guitarist Craig Thatcher to various venues. One such venue was the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., he said. Their purpose is to educate people about the C.F. Martin story.

“We go around and try to inspire people about guitars,” Boak said.

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