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Old Tyme Christmas 'an alternative to the mall'

November 27, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

HARPERS FERRY, W.VA. - The early bird might catch the worm, but it's the worm that sleeps in late that avoids being devoured.

On one of the biggest shopping days of the year, not everyone set their alarm clocks for a ghastly hour to head to a shopping center or department store for early-bird specials.

"It's an alternative to the mall. A magnificent alternative," said Peg Wren, who stashed a few small purchases in her purse after emerging from a shop Friday afternoon in Harpers Ferry.

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Wren, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was making her first trip to the town.

"I think it's charming. I think it's beautifully kept up," Wren said, commenting about the stonework prevalent throughout town.

Steven Pope, owner of Molly the Rebel Shop, which features antiques and gifts, said business had been steady all day.

"I think the small shops have a certain charm. Kind of like yesteryear when you didn't have the mall," Pope said.

Friday was the first day of Harpers Ferry's Old Tyme Christmas, which continues this weekend and on the first two weekends in December.

Tomas Gomez, owner of Tomandy, believed some of the people who came to his store were Christmas shopping. The telltale sign was when they tried to hide their purchase from a partner or spouse, he said.

Gomez, who opened his shop four months ago, offered a few reasons why people might have chosen to come to Harpers Ferry on Black Friday.

"To do something different," he said. "Also, I assume people are looking for something different."

Plus, he said, "the town is very nicely decorated."

Gomez sells handmade ethnic jewelry and pottery.

B.J. Collier formerly visited Harpers Ferry but estimated it had been at least six years since she last came. After moving recently to Martinsburg it was on her to-do list.

"This just seemed to be the day to do it," Collier said, saying that she had no other commitments and was able to spend time with her granddaughter.

Collier said she likes the town's traditional elements, its history and its location at the confluence of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers.

"I've seen an awful lot of things I wanted to buy," she said.

Just as not everyone headed to a mall on Friday, not everyone who headed to Harpers Ferry arrived with their wallets at the ready.

Accompanied by three borzois - Legs, Lady and Lightning - Janet Averill wanted a nice place where she could walk the dogs.

The large sleek dogs were catching many eyes - one young girl's father even snapped a picture as his daughter hugged one of them.

A beautiful day and sidewalks to stroll upon were enough for Averill, of Annapolis, Md.

"We really haven't thought about Christmas shopping yet," she said.




Today's schedule of events at Old Tyme Christmas in Harpers Ferry, W.Va.:

· 11 a.m. - Darryl Bryarly on dulcimer at Westwind Potters

· Noon to 7 p.m. - Live acoustic entertainment at The Armory Pub

· Noon - Amazing Karl the Magician at The Swiss Miss

· 1 p.m. - Turkey Trot Hike to benefit American Cancer Society (register at The Outfitter)

· 2 p.m. - Bubble Bee the clown at The Swiss Miss

· 3 p.m. - Nancy Lynn, Andy Mosholder perform auto harp, dulcimer, cello and vocals at The Secret Six Tavern

· 4 p.m. - Paul Martz recites "The Picket's Christmas" at The John Brown Fort

· 4 p.m. - Old Time Player Piano & Music Box at the Secret Six Sundries

· 5 p.m. - Barbara Bradley plays the harp at Molly Rebel

· 6 p.m. - Christmas tree lighting at the Town Gazebo, at the top of the hill on Washington Street

· 6:30 p.m. - Merchant Christmas tree lighting, "The Picket's Christmas" by Paul Martz, caroling accompanied by "Grassy Ridge"

· 7 p.m. - Ghost Tour

All events are free except for the Ghost Tour, which costs $5.

Events also are scheduled for Sunday; Friday, Dec. 3; Saturday, Dec. 4; Sunday, Dec. 5; Friday, Dec. 10; Saturday Dec. 11; and Sunday, Dec. 12.

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