Santa, tree lightings, parades, more on tap
Not in a holiday mood? Take a look at the lineup of parades, concerts, special meals, dance performances, tree lightings, craft workshops, worship opportunities, movies and chances to visit with Santa, Mrs. Claus, the elves and even the Grinch and you may be soon be singing a different tune. (“Jingle Bells,” perhaps?)
Here, we offer our annual day-by-day look at special events coming up in our area through Dec. 15. (The list through the end of December is too lengthy for this week’s edition. Pick up the Spirit in the weeks to come for holiday calendar items happening later this month.)
Tree lighting: Charles Town formally launches the holiday season with a 7 p.m. Christmas tree lighting ceremony on the grounds of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Also planned: caroling and Santa reading Clement Clarke Moore’s “’The Night Before Christmas.”
Shepherdstown Christmas: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” begins with special events including a bonfire at King and German streets with roasted chestnuts, hot chocolate and s’mores. Following the town’s 6:15 p.m. Christmas tree lighting ceremony and arrival of Santa, children may visit Mr. Claus and his elves inside McMurran Hall. For details, call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786 or go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com.
Chili forecast: The Kiwanis Club of Shepherdstown holds its annual chili and cornbread dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. Nov. 29 on the top floor of the War Memorial Building.
The dinner, part of the “Christmas in Shepherdstown” celebration, will include more than a dozen varieties of homemade chili. Adults pay $6 and children 6 to 12 pay $4. Younger children eat for free. Baked goods will also be for sale.
Funds raised go to projects that benefit children in the community and elsewhere. For details, call Adele Knott at 304-725-8084.
‘Old Tyme’ time: Shepherd University’s Dining Hall offers its annual “Old Tyme Christmas Dinner” from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Anyone is welcome. The cost is $8 for adults or $4 for kids.
Black Dog Friday: Black Friday at Black Dog brings a “Shop Local” holiday event at the Bardane coffee shop. The festivities kick off at 8 a.m. Friday and continue from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday as well as Dec. 6 and Dec. 7 with live music through the afternoons. For details, go to Blackdogcoffee.net or call 304-724-9040.
Shepherdstown fun: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” continues with a kids’ party with Santa, face painting, a magic show, hot chocolate and cookies from noon to 3 p.m. in the War Memorial Building at 102 E. German St.
Other fun: Carriage rides, strolling carolers, classic children’s films (“How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” “Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”) at the Opera House at 131 W. German St. and a live nativity on the lawn of Trinity Episcopal Church at the corner of German and Church streets.
For details, call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786 or go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com.
Tree lighting: Ranson Mayor Dave Hamill gives Santa a hand in lighting the city’s Christmas tree in Lancaster Circle during the ninth-annual ceremony that happens from 6 to 8 p.m.
The event includes horse-drawn wagon rides, the opportunity to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Frosty the Snowman and the Grinch; hot chocolate; the Ranson Elementary School Chorus performing “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer,” Bing Crosby’s “Mele Kalikimaka” and other tunes; train rides for kids; and more. For details, contact the Ranson Visitors Center (304-724-3862 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Christmas concert: The annual Christmas concert at O’Hurley’s General Store at 205 E. Washington St. begins at 7 p.m. It’s part of the “Christmas in Shepherdstown” celebration. For details, call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786 or go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com.
“Pasta with the Pastor”: Pastor John Unger and his wife Cara Unger are offering a special pre-holiday series of get-togethers, “Pasta with the Pastor.” Anyone is welcome to meet at Bolivar United Methodist at 6 p.m. Dec. 4.
The Ungers will prepare pasta while guests are asked to bring salad and/or a dessert to share. The church is located at 1215 W. Washington St. in Harpers Ferry
Similar events are scheduled for Dec. 11 at St. John Lutheran Church at 950 W. Washington St. in Harpers Ferry and Dec. 18 back at Bolivar UMC. Both start at 6 p.m. For details, email PastorUnger@frontier.com.
Gingerbread workshop: Brad Spates, the chef at the historic McFarland House in Martinsburg, offers up a fun, family-friendly, two-hour gingerbread house workshop at 7 p.m. Dec. 4.
“All the fun without the stress,” he promises. “We do all the building … you get to pipe, dip and cover your house in all types of great candies, chocolate, licorice, nuts, marshmallows” and other edible details.
The cost is $45 per gingerbread house. The event will be offered again Dec. 11. For details or to reserve a spot, call 304-263-1890.
Old Tyme Christmas: Harpers Ferry kicks off its 43rd-annual free, old-fashioned Christmas celebration with an opening reception under a tent on Shenandoah Street at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 6.
The opening ceremony begins at 7 p.m. Participants then gather outside for a yule log celebration and caroling up High Street. A tree-lighting ceremony begins at 7:45 p.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church with a living nativity starting at 8:15 p.m. Shops close at 9 p.m. and the final shuttle bus departs at 9:30 p.m.
Special events continue through the weekend and again Dec. 14 and 15. For details, see historicharpersferry.com.
Christmas Gala: Buy a ticket to Asbury United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Christmas Gala, which begins at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at the church at 110 W. North St. in Charles Town. For details, call 304-725-5513 or go online to myasburychurch.org.
Harpers Ferry tree lighting: Harpers Ferry holds its annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at the Town Gazebo. The evening also includes Christmas caroling and light refreshments. For more details, go online to harpersferrywv.us.
“Christmas in Shepherdstown”: Highlights Dec. 6 include a performance by the Shepherdstown Middle School Chorus in front of the Shepherdstown Public Library at 100 W. German St. and an “Art Market” sponsored by Shepherd University’s Department of Contemporary Art and Theater where students, faculty and alumni will sell original and unique prints, drawings, photos, crafts and more on campus in Room 112 of the Center for Contemporary Art.
For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
Breakfast with Santa: Independent Fire Co. hosts its eighth-annual Breakfast with Santa Dec. 7 from 7 to 11 a.m. at the fire company at 200 W. Second Ave. in Ranson. The cost is a suggested donation of $5 for adults and $3 for kids 12 and younger. The menu includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits and sausage gravy.
Kids get to meet Santa and get a photo to take home plus other fun. For details, call 304-725-2514.
Christmas Parade: The 69th-annual Charles Town-Ranson Christmas Parade along Mildred and Washington streets with floats, marching bands and many local groups begins at 2 p.m. Dec. 7.
This year’s theme: “A Military Christmas.” To accommodate the parade and to allow parade units to line up, some streets will be closed. For details, go online to cityofransonwv.net or call the Ranson Police Department at 304-725-2411. For other details, contact the Ranson Visitors Center (304-724-3862 or email@example.com).
“Ghosts of Christmas Past” tour: Ann Khiel Fern’s annual “Ghosts of Christmas Past” tour Dec. 7 benefits women suffering abuse.
The tour through downtown Charles Town costs $12 and begins at 7 p.m. in front of the Jefferson County Courthouse. Thirty percent of proceeds go to the Shenandoah Women’s Center.
Every 15 seconds, a woman is battered in the United States, says Fern, who suggests attendees to bring flashlights and cover them with crepe paper, waxed paper, fake spider webbing or the like “to represent every person in our country who has suffered emotional or physical abuse at the hands of a loved one.”
She suggests that participants, in lieu of tips to the tour guide, make an additional donation to the center. For more on the nonprofit established in 1977, call 304-263-8292 or go online to swcinc.org.
Another special offering with the tour: Fern will give anyone who wears bells to the event a signed chapter of her second book, “Beyond the Charles Town Ghost Tours” due out in the spring. For more information, call Fern at 304-724-6741 or find Charles Town Ghost Tours on Facebook.
Jingle Bell Jog: The Jingle Bell Jog, a 5K where participants are encouraged to run in festive dress, starts at the Shepherd University Wellness Center Dec. 7. A benefit for Candy Cane Express, the entrance fee is a new toy.
Other “Christmas in Shepherdstown” events on the schedule include: a train exhibit at the Shepherdstown Train Station with Santa; the annual Christmas Parade along German Street; storytellers and Santa at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum; carriage rides; a free showing of “The Polar Express” at the Opera House; and more. For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
Harpers Ferry Christmas: Harpers Ferry’s Old Tyme Christmas continues Dec. 7 with a Breakfast with Santa at the Town’s Inn, a bake and soup sale at Thomas Hall in back of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, horse and wagon rides on Shenandoah Street; Mr. and Mrs. Claus strolling High and Potomac streets; Elf Susie making balloon sculptures at the Train Station; a living nativity and special music at St. Peter’s; s’mores making at 189 High St. at 7 p.m.; extended shopping hours; and more. For a full schedule and other details, go to historicharpersferry.com.
Holiday party: The Appalachian Trail Conservancy at 799 Washington St. in Harpers Ferry hosts its 11th-annual holiday party with homemade cookies and hot apple cider from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 7.
The event offers anyone interested the chance to meet ATC staff and volunteers along with members of the Harpers Ferry-Bolivar Trail & Town Alliance. Brian King will sign copies of his award-winning “The Appalachian Trail: Celebrating America’s Hiking Trail” from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m.
ATC Executive Director Ron Tipton and his wife Rita Molyneaux will serve as hosts from 1 to 3 p.m. and there will be a raffle of a Gregory backpack and Leki Trekking Poles for kids at 2 p.m. In exchange for a donation to the ATC, volunteers with gift-wrap purchases with AT-themed paper. For more details, contact Laurie Potteiger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
NYC trip: Ice skate at Rockefeller Center and take in other holiday highlights of the Big Apple next week as the Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission sponsors a charter bus trip to New York City.
The Dec. 7 journey begins at 5 a.m. at the community center at Sam Michaels Park in Shenandoah Junction. The bus arrives at Madison Square Garden at mid-morning and everyone on board is free to explore New York till the bus departs at 8 p.m. The fee is $68; anyone younger than 18 must travel with an adult. To reserve a spot, call 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
Holiday Gala concerts: Shepherd University’s Friends of Music presents its annual Holiday Gala concert Dec. 7 at the Frank Center. A family matinee Dec. 8 will feature a sing-a-long led by Rob Tudor, chairman of Shepherd’s music department, an instrument “petting zoo” and an appearance by Santa Claus.
Both concerts will showcase the university’s Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Chamber Singers, Camerata Singers, Men’s Choir and Concert Choir.
The Dec. 7 gala begins at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets cost $20, with $2 off for faculty, staff, seniors and members of the military. The concert is $10 for those 18 and younger and free for Shepherd students with Rambler ID.
For the 3 p.m. matinee, tickets cost $15 for general admission; $10 for faculty, staff, seniors and members of the military; and $5 for those 6 to 18. The event is free for children 5 and younger who are accompanied by an adult and free for Shepherd students with Rambler ID. For details, call 304-876-5765 or go to sufom.org.
Christmas bells: The Sixth Dimension, a community hand bell choir, performs a free Christmas concert at 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at Asbury United Methodist Church. The church is at 110 W. North St. in Charles Town. For details, call 304-725-5513 or go to myasburychurch.org.
Parade/5K: The annual South Berkeley Christmas Parade and 5K starts at 2 p.m. Dec. 8 at Musselman High School off U.S. 11 in Inwood. Hundreds of runners kick off the event, with the parade beginning immediately after. For details, find “South Berkeley Christmas 5K” on Facebook or call sponsor The Pizza Oven at 304-229-6701.
Shepherdstown Christmas: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” continues Dec. 8 with a train exhibit, carriage rides, a dramatic reading of “A Christmas Carol” by the Genesius Players (the new nonprofit community theater company) plus the annual Christmas Sing-Along at O’Hurley’s. For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
Harpers Ferry Christmas: Harpers Ferry’s Old Tyme Christmas continues Dec. 8 with Tuba Christmas at 1 p.m. at 180 High St., breakfast with Santa at the Town’s Inn, a bake and soup sale at Thomas Hall in back of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, horse and wagon rides on Shenandoah Street and more. Shops will be open from 1 to 6 p.m. For a full schedule and other details, go to historicharpersferry.com.
Craft hour: Children spend an hour making holiday crafts and enjoying Christmas stories and songs Dec. 9 at the Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission’s Community Center in Shenandoah Junction.
The class starts at 3:45 p.m. and costs $14. To reserve a spot or to get more info, call the commission at 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
Elf event: Dec. 9 is the deadline to register for the “Elf Pajama Party,” happening from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission’s Community Center in Shenandoah Junction.
Kids wear their pjs and enjoy a pizza dinner, basketball, movies, crafts, a moon bounce and treats. The cost is $20. To reserve a spot or to get more info, call the commission at 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
Shepherdstown Christmas: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” continues Dec. 13 with holiday songs and stories with musicians Chelsea McBee and Mike Tollifson plus stories from Mrs. Claus at the Trinity Episcopal Church Chapel. For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
“Christmas Spirits”: A special “Christmas Spirits of Harpers Ferry” program begins at 7 p.m. Dec. 13 at St. John’s Lutheran Church, 950 W Washington St, Harpers Ferry. For details, call 304-535-3105.
Parade: Friendship Fire Co. in Harpers Ferry hosts its annual, free Christmas Parade and celebration at 2 p.m. Dec. 14. The parade route runs from the Bolivar Visitor Center to Union Street. At the fire station, post-parade fun includes lunch and the chance to get a photo with Santa.
For more information, call Chris Higdon, the fire company’s president, at 304-535-2211.
“Christmas in Shepherdstown”: The Little House on Princess Street between German and High streets will be open for walk-throughs Dec. 14 as part of “Christmas in Shepherdstown.” The celebration also will include holiday crafts, games and fun for children 10 and younger at the Train Station; “Elf” at the Opera House; a Christmas story time sponsored by Shepherdstown Public Library will include Mrs. Claus reading Christmas classics, festive music and other children’s activities. For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
“Lunch with Santa”: The Jefferson County Parks & Recreation Commission’s “Lunch with Santa” happens from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at the Community Center in Shenandoah Junction. Youngsters can enjoy lunch, get a photo taken with Santa, make a craft to take home, and more. The cost is $12.
To reserve a spot or to get more info, call the commission at 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
Paws and Claus: Donate $10 to Tara’s House Animal Rescue and get a 5×7 photo of your pet with Santa (taken by Tony Cooper of Martinsburg’s TLC Photography) during the annual Paws and Claus event at Black Dog Coffee at 8001 Charles Town Road in Shenandoah Junction. Call 304-724-9040 for details.
Holiday Craft Fair: The Washington High School Band Boosters will host its annual Holiday Craft and Vendor Fair from 5 to 8 p.m. Dec. 14 in the school’s cafeteria.
The event at 300 Patriots Drive in Charles Town also will include a silent auction, chili cookoff and a performance by the school’s Jazz Band at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5. For details, call Lisa Ring at 304-728-8140.
Toy drive: Forgotten Children Ministries of Jefferson County hosts a toy drive from 1 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Independent Fire Hall at 200 W. Second Ave. in Ranson. For details, call 304-725-2514.
A W.Va.-made holiday: The Inwood Farmers Market at 178 Pilgrim St. holds its annual holiday open house from noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 14.
The market, operated by the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, will offer samples of local products and West Virginia-grown food and drinks as well as the chance to taste some wines made in the Mountain State.
For details, call the market at 304-229-5011.
Shepherdstown Christmas: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” continues Dec. 15 with the Village Brass Quintet performing holiday jazz selections on the McMurran Hall steps in the afternoon and a Celtic concert featuring The Sound of Sleat at 7 p.m. at O’Hurley’s. For details, call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786 or go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com.
Special music: The State College (Pa.) Choral Society performs at 4 p.m. Dec. 15 in the sanctuary of St. James Catholic Church in Charles Town.
“December Colors – Double Delights” will include music for double choir (Schuetz’s “Singet dem Herren”), for brass quartet (Spanish carol “Riu Riu Chiu”), for brass and choir (C.T. Pachelbel’s “Magnificat”) and for brass and organ (J.S. Bach’s “In Dulci Jubilo”) and other pieces.
The free event is offered by the church’s Arts Academy of St. James. For more information, email Gary Penkala, pastoral associate for liturgy and music, at email@example.com or call the church office at 304-725-5558.
“The Nutcracker”: The Shepherdstown School of Dance offers three performances of “The Nutcracker” Dec. 14 and 15 at the Frank Arts Center at Shepherd University.
The ballet will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Dec. 14 and again Dec. 15 at 2 p.m. Tickets cost $15 in advance or $20 at the door. To get yours, go to shepherdstownschoolofdance.com or visit Encore Apparel in Motion at 104 E. German St. in Shepherdstown. For details, call 304-264-1832.
Christmas cantata: Asbury United Methodist Church’s Sanctuary Choir, soloists, musicians and youngsters combine their talents to perform a Christmas cantata at 11 a.m. Dec. 15 at the church at 110 W. North St. in Charles Town.
The hour of musical selections will tell the Christmas story. Call 304-725-5513 or go to myasburychurch.org online.
Harpers Ferry Christmas: Harpers Ferry’s Old Tyme Christmas wraps up Dec. 15 with Breakfast with Santa at the Town’s Inn, a bake and soup sale at Thomas Hall in back of St. Peter’s Catholic Church, horse and wagon rides on Shenandoah Street; Elf Susie making balloon sculptures and a show by the Wonderment Puppet Theater, both at the Train Station; extended shopping hours; and more. For a full schedule and other details, go to historicharpersferry.com.