With Bear Contest, Scouts Address a Need

Countryside Senior Girl Scout troops 2170 and 1412 and Cascades Troop 3083 held the second annual Dress-the-Bear contest at the Cascades Stone House on Nov. 21 to collect toy bears for the Salvation Army. Once again, Girl Scouts from Service Unit 70-8 participated in the holiday contest by creatively dressing bears from the Salvation Army and then returning them to be given as Christmas toys to needy children in Loudoun County. These dressed bears, complete with names and accessories, were delivered to the Salvation Army the first week in December.

More than 110 bears were "registered" for the contest with names such as Y2K Bear, Doctor Brown Bear, Christmas Morning Bear and Ace. The event was open to the public for several hours, and the Girl Scouts came to view the displayed bears and vote for the People's Choice award by putting pennies in the jars of their favorite bears. More than $120 in coins were collected for charity in the balloting, and the four bears with the most "votes" were awarded special prizes. All the registered bears were eligible for raffle prizes for their temporary owners, winning gifts donated by several local stores and mall businesses.

Deck Your Door (or More) and Win a Prize

Middleburg Bank and the Town of Leesburg will sponsor Leesburg's holiday decorating contest Thursday, Friday and Saturday. On those days, judges will be abroad in the town searching for the best decorations in these categories: most traditional; best door; best business; best shopping center; best street or neighborhood; best nonprofit organization; most creative and best effort.

All decorated property in the town limits qualifies. If you want to be sure the judges see your home or business, call 703-777-2176 or send an e-mail to bwestfall@erols.com.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, and town representatives will continue the tradition of riding the Prize Patrol Bus to present the awards at 7 p.m. Dec. 20.

Winners Named in Holiday Parade

Meanwhile, the Leesburg Parks and Recreation Department has announced the winners of the 1999 Holidays in Leesburg Parade.

The winners, selected from among more than 50 units in the parade, were: the Loudoun County Raiders Marching Band for best band; Cornerstone Chapel in Leesburg for best float; Girl Scout Troop 3175 for best holiday theme; Leesburg Airport Snow Plow for best vehicle, and the Loudoun Bits and Spurs 4-H Club of Hamilton for best all-around entrant.

Leesburg Event to Ring in New Year

First Night Leesburg will hold its 12th alcohol-free New Year's Eve celebration in Old Town Leesburg from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The event attracted 5,000 people last year, and organizers are planning for an even larger crowd this year. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for children 6 to 12 and free for children 5 and younger. Admission buttons are available in advance at the Loudoun Tourism Center in Market Station, Leesburg Pharmacy, Purcellville Pharmacy, Mom's Apple Pie, Starbucks Leesburg and Starbucks Cascades.

The entertainment, coordinated by the Bluemont Concert Series, will include more than 75 musical and theatrical performances--classical music, puppet shows, folk music, rock-and-roll, jazz, storytelling, theater and more--at 22 indoor locations. The celebration will end with a candlelight gathering at the courthouse steps to sing in the new year.

Volunteers are still welcome and needed to help before, during and after the event. Anyone needing information or interested in volunteering should contact the committee at 703-444-1800 or 703-777-6306.

Live Nativity for the Holiday

Leesburg Church of the Nazarene will present a live, drive-through nativity, "Return to Bethlehem," from 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The nativity will feature Sicilian donkeys, camels, sheep and other animals as well as more than 100 human actors. Admission is free.

The church is one-quarter mile west of Leesburg off the Route 7 Bypass. For more information, call 703-777-6850.

CAPTION: Girl Scouts got creative for the Dress-the-Bear contest to benefit Salvation Army efforts.