TROY - Kay Saxton was surprised to discover that "The Night Before Christmas" and the historic Mitchell House in Troy had something in common.

Saxton, of Granville Summit, was reading the famous poem to families inside the Mitchell House at the Heritage Village Saturday in Troy during "The Spirit of Christmas" celebration.

Prior to the event, she had been researching the poem and found out that it had been written in 1822.

Coincidentally, that was also when the Mitchell House had been built.

"I thought, 'oh, isn't that funny?'" she said.

According to the Bradford County Heritage Association, the inn was built c. 1822 for stagecoach travelers.

Saxton, who was dressed in an old-fashioned costume for the reading, said that the kids were enjoying "The Night Before Christmas."

She had to explain to them, however, that Santa was called St. Nicholas in the poem. She said the children didn't realize that St. Nicholas was another name for Santa.

Also, she noted that the kids wanted to count Rudolph along with the other reindeer who were mentioned. The red-nosed reindeer, however, isn't included in the poem because the character didn't exist at the time it was written.

"They want to add him," she commented.

According to one of the organizers, Joie Brasington, the second annual "Spirit of Christmas" event had a busy start and a steady crowd, despite the cold weather.

Children could visit with Santa in the carriage house, and there was a live Nativity outside. Several vendors also were on hand.

"The Spirit of Christmas" was sponsored by the Troy Chamber of Commerce and the Bradford County Farm Museum. Last year, it was held for the first time, and replaced the Troy Christmas Parade.

The theme of this year's event was Christmas stockings, and they were tacked onto the various buildings at the Heritage Village.

A Christmas Stocking Challenge allowed people to create a variety of stockings. Blue ribbons were awarded in various categories.

Brasington said 45 stockings were entered in the competition. Some of them were on display over the fireplace in the Mitchell House.

One Christmas stocking was made out of metal cans, arranged in the shape of a stocking. Webelos Pack 30 made the metal stocking and equipped it with flashing lights and music. It won the blue ribbon in its category.

Brasington said she liked the creativity.

"That's what I wanted them to do, something unconventional, unique, different."

Myra Goss of Columbia Cross Roads won in the "whimsical" category.

Her stocking became a blanket when it was folded out, and featured a sock monkey and a Curious George theme.

She made it for her grandson, Jayden Rodriguez, who will be 2 years old.

Goss even wrote a poem to go along with the stocking, addressed to her grandson. It read, in part, "Have Mommy use her scissors to clip all the strings, you'll then have a blanket to snuggle up tight, and wrap yourself up in for a nap or good night."

Here were the other winners in the Christmas Stocking Challenge: most patriotic stocking, Loretta Bruce; crochet stocking, Shirley Hawkins; appliqué stocking, Fran Gardiner; penny rug style stocking, Mary Alice Bower; knitted stocking, Judy Warn and Joyce Watkins; cookie stocking, Barb Barrett; wood stocking, Pack 30 Tiger Cub Den; painted stocking, Bonnie Bell; stenciled stocking, Fran Gardiner; and crazy quilting stocking, Kay Saxton.

Sarah Anglin of Columbia Cross Roads, who attended the event with her family, liked the cookie stocking.

"I want to eat it."

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: