Martinsburg plans hometown Christmas

November 26, 2005|By CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.VA. - There are a lot of places where children can sit on Santa's lap, but it might only be in downtown Martinsburg that they can get the autographs of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Raggedy Ann and Andy, toy soldiers and elves.

Main Street Martinsburg's Hometown Christmas celebration also will feature a yule log, a pet parade, music, a town Christmas tree-lighting, several children's activities and other events.

Festivities kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, with the tree-lighting at about 7:30 p.m.

Jeff Redding, chairman of Main Street Martinsburg's promotions committee, said the mayor might light the tree, as in years past. But he said a surprise tree-lighter might be there instead.


Some of the activities in this year's event were started last year and proved to be popular, including the pet parade. Real or stuffed pets dressed in holiday wear are invited to march in the parade, which will begin at the intersection of Queen and Martin streets at 7 p.m.

The pets will lead Santa, riding in a horse-drawn carriage, to the square at King and Queen streets.

For the first time this year, many downtown businesses plan to host open houses Friday evening, with refreshments available and elaborately decorated windows on display.

Redding said he has been checking extended weather forecasts daily in anticipation of the Christmas celebration. If the weather cooperates, 500 to 600 people could come downtown, he said.

Before the tree-lighting, the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Library is giving away 50 cookie cutters from a "cookie cutter tree" beginning at 5 p.m. Home-baked cookies also will be available inside the library.

Redding encouraged visitors to stop by the historic Belle Boyd House at 126 E. Race St., which is decorated for the holidays.

"It's beautiful," Redding said. "They do a great job over there."

Variety of events scheduled

Today, from 1 to 3 p.m., Madeline MacNeil will perform on a dulcimer, while Lee Jones will perform on a melodeon Sunday, also from 1-3 p.m.

On Saturday, Dec. 3, from 1 to 3 p.m., Bob Basford will play the banjo at the Belle Boyd House, while Civil War re-enactors - including a woman portraying the spy Belle Boyd - will be present.

The Hedgesville Middle School choir will perform Dec. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Live entertainment at the Belle Boyd House also is planned Dec. 10, Dec. 11 and Dec. 17, with the house open to the public through Dec. 23 until 4 p.m. daily.

Other downtown events include a Christmas parade on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.

At the Adam Stephen House off East John Street, candlelight tours of the circa-1789 house built by Martinsburg's founder will be given Saturday, Dec. 10, from 6 to 9 p.m. There also will be a yule log, caroling and ornament-making for children.

Candlelight tours of the house also will be given from 2-8 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11.

"Two from Galilee" will be performed at the Apollo Civic Theatre, beginning with an 8 p.m. performance Friday, Dec. 9. Additional performances will be Dec. 10 at 8 p.m., Dec. 11 at 2 p.m., Dec. 16 at 8 p.m., Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

The Christmas-themed play centers on Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus.

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