Concerts, caroling, 5Ks, other seasonal fun heads our way
It’s December and that means Christmas concerts, caroling in Harpers Ferry, holiday-themed 5Ks in Shepherdstown and South Berkeley, three performances of “The Nutcracker,” tree lightings, craft workshops, special church services, free showings of classic kids’ Christmas movies, a “Ghosts of Christmas Past” ghost tour, Christmas songs from West Virginia favorite son Landau Murphy, and much more.
A day-by-day look at some of the holiday fun coming up in our area:
“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.
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.
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.
“Hollyfest”: The Maryland Theatre offers a free holiday celebration featuring entertainment by local children’s groups at 7 p.m. at the Maryland Theatre. The theater is located at 21 S. Potomac St. in Hagerstown. No ticket is required. For details, call 301-739-8577, ext 116.
“Howdy” to the holidays: It’s time again for the music-filled “Cowboy Christmas,” a unique dinner and show at Antietam Recreation at 9745 Garis Shop Road in Hagerstown, Md. Thursday’s show begins at 4:30 p.m. and continues at 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For tickets or more information, call 301-797-7999 or go online to antietamrecreation.com.
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.
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. 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. 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 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.
“Shop Local” event: Black Dog Coffee’s “Shop Local” holiday event continues Friday and Saturday at the Bardane coffee shop. Live music through the afternoons. For details, go to Blackdogcoffee.net or call 304-724-9040.
Breakfast with Santa: Independent Fire Co. hosts its eighth-annual Breakfast with Santa 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. 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).
Dog day: Pet lovers are invited to join the Animal Welfare Society of Jefferson County’s walking unit in Saturday’s Charles Town-Ranson Christmas Parade. Area residents who have adopted dogs from shelters and rescue groups may walk with their pets; the unit also will feature AWS dogs in need of homes. Children are welcome, but must have an adult accompanying them. No dog? No problem. Organizers say participants are also needed to walk shelter dogs and carry the AWS banner. To sign up or learn more, call 304-725-5972.
Christmas party: The Beth Haven Baptist Church at 1523 Van Clevesville Road in Martinsburg offers its “Birthday Party for Jesus” from 3:30 to 5 p.m. For more information, call 304-261-2141.
Christmas Parade: Another busy day of “Christmas in Shepherdstown” events with the annual Christmas Parade along German Street; a train exhibit at the Shepherdstown Train Station with Santa;; storytellers and Santa at the Historic Shepherdstown Museum; free carriage rides; a free showing of “The Polar Express” at the Opera House; and more. Contact the Shepherdstown Visitors Center (304-876-2786 or shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com) for details.
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. A benefit for Candy Cane Express, the entrance fee is a new toy.
For details, go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com or call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786.
“Ghosts of Christmas Past” tour: Ann Khiel Fern’s annual “Ghosts of Christmas Past” tour 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.
Harpers Ferry Christmas: Harpers Ferry’s Old Tyme Christmas continues 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; Mr. and Mrs. Claus strolling High and Potomac streets; Elf Susie creating 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.
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 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.
Free holiday movies: See 2004’s “The Polar Express” on the big screen Saturday as both Berkeley Plaza Theatre 7 in Martinsburg and Shepherdstown’s Opera House host free movie Saturdays this month. The fun at Berkeley Plaza begins at 10 a.m. and will also include a showing of “Fred Claus.”
For details on other Christmas movies on this month’s lineup at the theater off U.S. 11, go online to berkeleytheatres7.com. For more on the free Saturday movies at 131 W. German St., call 304-876-3704 or go online to operahouselive.com.
Holiday Gala concerts: Shepherd University’s Friends of Music presents its annual Holiday Gala concert at the Frank Center. A family matinee on Sunday 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.
Saturday’s 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. 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. at Musselman High School off U.S. 11 in Inwood. Hundreds of runners kick off the event, with the parade beginning immediately after.
This year’s parade grand marshal is Jonathan Kimble, the West Virginia University Mountaineer. For race details, find “South Berkeley Christmas 5K” on Facebook or call 5K sponsor The Pizza Oven at 304-229-6701.
Shepherdstown Christmas: “Christmas in Shepherdstown” continues 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 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 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: It’s 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.
“Santaland Diaries”: Shepherdstown’s Bistro 112 hosts a special holiday dinner and reading from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dec. 12 as actor Tom Brooks entertains with excerpts from “The Santaland Diaries” based on David Sedaris’ hilarious experiences as Crumpet the Elf in Macy’s Santaland display.
Reservations are required and may be made by calling 304-876-8477
“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.
Christmas help: Anyone may drop off new, unwrapped toys at the South Jefferson Public Library in Summit Point through Dec. 11. The library’s Santa’s Workshop for those in need is a project with the library, the local Kiwanis and Jefferson County Community Ministries.
Librarians say no stuffed animals or used toys can be accepted. The library is located at 49 Church St. For more information, call 304-725-6227 or go online to sojeffersonlibrary.com.
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.
Santa dinner: Don’t hotcakes and “Ho ho ho” make a good combination? The Middleway Volunteer Fire Co. hosts a pancake dinner with Santa from 4 to 7 p.m. Dec. 14 at the fire station, across from Hinton Road a half-mile south of Middleway.
The cost is $10 for those 13 and older or $6 for kids 3 to 12. For more information, call 304-725-0006.
“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.
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 Dec. 14 at Black Dog Coffee at 8001 Charles Town Road in Shenandoah Junction. Call 304-724-9040 for details.
Christmas concert: The Stevens Family from Warren, Ohio, star in a Christmas Celebration Concert at 6 p.m. Dec. 14 at Potomac Park Retreat & Conference Center in Falling Waters.
The concert at 11 Tabernacle Way, off U.S. 11 is free. For details, call 304- 274-2700.
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.
Bikers’ Christmas: Members of the Christian motorcycle club Fellowship Riders will visit Millville United Methodist Church at 10 a.m. Dec. 15. The church is located at 436 Millville Road. For more information, call 304-725-5893.
Downtown shopping event: Two of downtown Charles Town’s newest businesses, et cetera and Southern Charm, partner with tried-and-true restaurant favorite Alfredo’s Ristorante & Mediterranean Grill for a special “Sip, Shop, Celebrate” event next weekend.
Patrons are invited to visit all three Washington Street businesses from 3 to 7 p.m. Dec. 15 and sample wine and gourmet treats, take advantage of holiday sales and dinner and appetizer specials, see new fashions, and more. For details, contact et cetera owner Stephanie Pierson Smith (304-724-7003 or firstname.lastname@example.org).
Christmas craft: Children spend an hour making Christmas ornaments at 3:45 p.m. Dec. 18 at the Jefferson County Parks and Rec Community Center in Shenandoah Junction. The cost is $14. To reserve a spot, call 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
Gingerbread workshop: Any child ages 6 to 12 can create a keepsake wooden gingerbread house from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Jefferson County Parks and Rec Community Center in Shenandoah Junction. The fee is $25. Call 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org to sign up.
“TubaChristmas”: Head to King and German streets in Shepherdstown Dec. 21 for “TubaChristmas,” a free Christmas concert from the steps of McMurran Hall, Also planned: a dramatic reading of “A Christmas Carol,” roasted chestnuts, a holiday party for children at the Train Station, a free showing of “A Christmas Story” at the Opera House at 131 W. German St., and much more. For details on the “Christmas in Shepherdstown” lineup, call the Shepherdstown Visitors Center at 304-876-2786 or go online to shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com.
Open house: Joy Bridy hosts a holiday open house at her Shenandoah Junction pottery studio from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 21.
It’s a chance to see both Bridy and her apprentice Stephanie Wilhelm at work, and functional pieces made by the pair – mugs, bowls, bottles for oil or vinegar, vases, crocks for chilling wine and more – will be available for purchase.
The studio is located at 2533 Warm Springs Road. For details, contact Bridy (304-876-0750 or email@example.com) or go online to joybridy.com.
Churches open: Dec. 22 brings the finale of “Christmas in Shepherdstown,” with an open house at Shepherdstown Presbyterian Church at 100 W. Washington St. and the chance to see a collection of nativity scenes (plus hot drinks and cookies) at New Street United Methodist Church at 202 W. New St. Contact the Shepherdstown Visitors Center (304-876-2786 or shepherdstownvisitorscenter.com) for details.
Pet gifts: Spay Today, the area’s nonprofit, reduced-fee spay and neuter program, offers a “purr-fect” holiday present – gift cards good for spaying and neutering cats and dogs. To learn more, call 304-728-8330 or email Spay Today volunteer Fran Barker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Art camp: A fun art camp for children ages 6 to 12 happens from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 30 at the Community Center. The cost is $40 and parents should send a packed lunch. To reserve a spot in any of the activities or to get more info, call the commission at 304-728-3207 or go online to jcprc.org.
– Compiled by Christine Miller Ford