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Womelsdorf to welcome 2013 by dropping giant cigar

By Kimberly Davidow, Reporter
Published On: Dec 23 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 24 2012 05:21:53 PM CST

2012 was a special year for Womelsdorf as the borough celebrated its 250th anniversary.

2012 was a special year for Womelsdorf as the borough celebrated its 250th anniversary.

Now, as the year comes to a close, it's ushering in 2013 with a special item from its past.

Throughout 2012, Womelsdorf residents have held special gatherings and celebrations to commemorate the borough's 250th anniversary. To residents like Ray E. Swope Jr., remembering his hometown's past is something he takes seriously.

"I think too much of the history of our small town is dying. The younger generation doesn't seem to care," said Swope.

To keep the borough's history alive, Swope and other community members came up with a unique way to welcome in 2013 on New Year's Eve. They are lighting a cigar. Earl Ibach said the cigars hold great historical significance to the borough's history.

"Womelsdorf at one time was a cigar making maker. There were 38 different  manufacturers at one time or another and the industry reached its peak around 1920," said Ibach.

Swope said the cigar will be dropped from the Womelsdorf Fire Department's 75 foot ladder in the town's main square. He also said there is going to be fireworks lighting up the sky on New Year's Eve.

David Binner, owner of Brown Signs Inc., said the cigar is 10 feet, 10 inches in length and about 4 feet, 5 inches around the circumference.

"At the bottom it's tricked out with LED lighting so that when the time comes for setting it up, we'll put a 9 volt battery in it and it will make the bottom glow. It's always self satisfying to see when you take something from bare cardboard and see how it comes together," said Binner.

Ibach said they are expecting a large turnout on New Year's Eve to see the cigar drop. A unique way to kick off 2013. For these residents, however, they would not have it any other way.

"I'll never forget my roots," said Ibach.