A Winter Wonderland in Urbana

Photo | Ridhi Chaudhary The annual Winter Wonderland holiday shop held at Urbana High School raised funds for the UHS Mighty Hawks Marching Band. Pictured here, children enjoy festive activities including face painting and gingerbread cookie decorating.

Photo | Ridhi Chaudhary
The annual Winter Wonderland holiday shop held at Urbana High School raised funds for the UHS Mighty Hawks Marching Band. Pictured here, children enjoy festive activities including face painting and gingerbread cookie decorating.


On Dec. 6, Urbana High School’s (UHS) auditorium swarmed with local residents shopping for holiday presents and members of the Mighty Hawks Marching Band assisting them, dressed head to toe in elf costumes. The band’s annual Winter Wonderland fundraiser included elves inviting children to go Christmas shopping with members of the marching band, picking from presents such as ornaments, photo frames, stuffed toys, key chains and blankets.

“I enjoy seeing the kids and the joy they get in making special decisions for their parents,” said Beth Gura, the main organizer of the fundraiser. “I also think that the craft vendors are great as well. They really make a special effort to have merchandise that appeals to every price range and every style of taste.”

In addition to the holiday shop, there was face painting, gingerbread cookie decorating and a wreath raffle. Baked goods, including sugar cookies, key lime cupcakes, cinnamon chocolate fudge and pumpkin Nutella bars enticed the crowd. More than 30 craft vendors were also present selling all sorts of festive holiday items including jewelry, winter wear and home decor. A new addition to this year’s event was a photo booth, where kids could take photos with Santa.

“I’ve watched this event grow tremendously,” said Pam Holcomb, who has attended every year. “I just love the sense of community that surrounds Urbana High School and I just didn’t want to miss it. What I really like the most is how all the elves and the helpers are so festive and dress up. I remember back in the day when they just wore the hats and the shoes. Now it’s the whole deal, and that’s what makes it so precious,” said Holcomb.

All of the funds collected from the event went to the Mighty Hawks Marching Band to defray costs of instruments and music, as well as to reduce the annual costs required for the students to participate — about $1,000 a year for each student. The marching band celebrated many successes this year, including a trip to a national competition in New Jersey.

“I love the feeling of playing the last note and finishing off an awesome show knowing that we did it all together as a team,” said Smaraki Dash, a member of the marching band and a senior at UHS.

Every year before the band season begins, band members go through a rigorous two-week band camp that consists of 12 hours of practice each day. All the practicing definitely paid off for UHS’s Mighty Hawks Marching Band, as they have risen to become one of the best high school bands in the state of Maryland. Although the marching band season is over for this year, the Mighty Hawks are still busy participating in the symphonic band, indoor percussion and indoor color guard.

To learn more about UHS’s Marching Band, please visit: www.urbanahsband.org

Editor’s Note: Ridhi Chaudhary is a freshman at Urbana High School.

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