While Lancaster County continues to grow, the residents of the Van Wyck community hope to keep their small-town traditions alive.
One such tradition is the Van Wyck Community Development Club Christmas Parade and Candy Toss, which was held for the fifth year on Dec. 7 in front of the Van Wyck Christmas Post Office at the corner of Old Hickory and Steele Hill Roads.
The parade brings together the whole community, with members of all ages coming out to greet Santa and celebrate the holiday season.
The Corcoran family, Van Wyck residents for four years, has made it a tradition to watch the parade and support their town.
“It’s nice to see everybody coming out in the community and supporting it,” Susan Corcoran said. “(Van Wyck) is very small and tight-knit. Everybody is very close.”
Corcoran said the community’s older residents help support the traditions while the younger generations keep them going.
“We like to keep the small town feel to (Van Wyck),” she said. “You don’t find places like this.”
Corcoran joined her husband Sean, son Miles, 8, and daughter Hadleigh, 9, in watching the parade this year.
“It gets bigger every year,” Sean said. “We had a good time.”
The parade brings back residents every year. Janice Witherspoon, a Van Wyck native, comes down from Charlotte each year to participate in the parade. Witherspoon joined the other members of the White Oak AME Zion Church and the Troop 809 Scouts members on their float.
“(The parade) gives us exposure to our community and our community exposure to us,” she said.
Witherspoon said the Van Wyck residents always enjoy the church members’ singing.
“It’s a part of knowing that Christmas is here,” she said.
Troop 809 member Kamila Strother, 13, said she has enjoyed riding on the float since the parade began.
“It means everything to me,” she said.
This year’s parade featured a Grinch-inspired float for Van Wyck Crime Watch. Resident Richard Vaughan spent four weeks building the float and rode into the parade as “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas.”
Vaughan was joined by his wife, Linda, who was dressed as Scrooge.
After talking about doing a float last year, but not being able to, Vaughan said he wanted to build it this year.
“We help make the parade grow,” he said.
This is the couple’s first time participating in the parade, which they have watched since it started.
“This year we decided to thrill the children,” Linda Vaughan said.
The couple said they enjoy the small-community feel of Van Wyck.
“It’s family,” Linda said. “Our little community is unique. A lot of older families are here.”