GREENSBURG (KDKA) – Overly’s Country Christmas is celebrating its 55th anniversary this year.
The tradition that started at one man’s house grows bigger every year.
The warm glow of holiday lights and the even warmer glow of the fire cuts through the chill at the Westmoreland Fairgrounds.
It all began in 1956 when Harry Overly put up a few strands of lights in front of his house in Armbrust. Well, it turned out a few weren’t enough.
Each year, he added more and the line of cars grew longer.
Harry’s volunteers collected donations for charity.
“It says a lot for the people in the community that they’re willing to do do something for somebody else,” Overly once said.
Overly passed away in 1998, five years after the light display moved to the fairgrounds.
Stephanie Tomasic has taken over as Santa’s helper.
The man who started it all lived to see his dream come true.
“Harry’s dream was always to have a little Christmas village where people could get out of their cars and meander around a small little village filled with shops, and drink hot chocolate at the bonfire. And it continues to grow even today,” Tomasic said.
In all there is 2.1 million lights. The show has gotten bigger, but the sentiments are still the same.
“The best part, and all our volunteers will tell you this too, is when you see a small child and they’re just absolutely amazed at all these lights or sipping hot chocolate around the bonfire. And that makes it worthwhile,” Tomasic said.