Valley to welcome Christmas with parades, tree lightings

By Josette Keelor

Music and seasonal cheer will parade through the Northern Shenandoah Valley this weekend, ringing in the holiday season with music, food and, of course, visits by Santa Claus.

Front Royal
The 10th Annual Christkindlmarkt at the gazebo on East Main Street is a German-style event with vendors and musicians from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

At 6 p.m. Friday the Town Crier will announce the market’s opening, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and lighting of the town Christmas tree. Entertainment will feature the Silent “Monks” of the Shenandoah, a light show, the challenge of the choirs, a puppet show, Hilby the Skinny German Juggle Boy, a mustache/beard competition, pet photos with Santa, children’s activities, food, a special seniors’ show and an afternoon with Elvis. Information: 635-8007,

Santa Claus will be available for photos from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday and noon to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Royal Plaza Shopping Center.

Pancake Day will be from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at E. Wilson Elementary School, a Kids Mall will be at Tap Etc. from 2 to 4 p.m.

The Home for the Holidays Parade will be from 4 to 6 p.m. along Main Street ending at the gazebo. Then, at 7:30 p.m., enjoy a free Christmas concert by the Front Royal Oratorio Society. Information: 635-8007

In Strasburg, Saturday, events begin downtown with the pancake breakfast at the fire department from 7 to 11 a.m. Other events will be a bazaar bake and yard sale at Strasburg Christian Church from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., with a strings concert by Strasburg High School at 10 a.m.; a holiday bazaar at Signal Knob Middle School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and a book sale at the community library from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Noon-8 p.m. — Have Christmas pictures of your pets taken at the All Dogs Great and Small Grooming Shop. The $10 sitting fee will benefit the Strasburg Dog Park. Call 465-3413 for an appointment.

12:30-3:30 p.m. — Businesses will hold open houses.

1-3 p.m. — Visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus at First Bank; the high school will hold a strings concert throughout town.

1:30-3 p.m. — Rich Follett and Gloria Stickley will have book signings at People’s Drug Store.

3 p.m. — The parade will line up at M&R Mart on West King Street and continue through town along Massanutten Street starting at 3:30 p.m.

4-6 p.m. — The Sandy Hook Elementary School fifth grade chorus and the high school choir will perform, followed by the tree lighting and pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Visitors should bring their own camera. Enjoy hot chocolate and cookies provided by Hometown Strasburg and hot dogs, soup and sandwiches by the Strasburg Rescue Squad.

7 p.m. — A reception and auction will announce the end of the “O Tannenbaum” Adopt-a-Tree program. Proceeds from trees sold through the auction will go to the Strasburg Compassion Cupboard Food Bank. A prize drawing at the reception will award one lucky tree donor and one viewer. Information: 465-5900, 834-9074 or 233-2250

The 14th annual Light up Woodstock, sponsored by the Woodstock Enhancement Committee an the Shenandoah County Chamber of Commerce, will be Friday downtown on Court Square, beginning at 6 p.m. with area children’s choirs singing on the steps of the courthouse, followed by a downtown parade at 6:30 p.m. and tree lighting at 6:45 p.m.

But that’s not all. Children may visit with Santa, and all can enjoy wagon rides, caroling, hot chocolate and more. A collection of canned food, gloves and warm hats will also take place. Information: 459-3621,

In Woodstock and Toms Brook, the first Open Door Tour of the O Shenandoah Artisan Trail will take place Saturday and Sunday, with three featured artists offering studio tours, refreshments and gifts to purchase. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Interact with artists and purchase hand-crafted holiday gifts. Studios on the tour will be Kary Haun Studio, 402 N. Main St., Woodstock; the Laughing Orange Studio, 3397 Hillcrest Drive, Toms Brook; and Glenn’s Log Art, 1222 Stage Coach Road, Woodstock. Information:

• Saturday in Mount Jackson, the Outdoor Holiday Market at Cave Ridge Vineyard, 1476 Conicville Road, will offer hot mulled wine and displays by local artists and vendors from 1 to 4 p.m. The Central High School Choir will perform carols. Information: 477-2585

• Friday in New Market, The Valley Wine Cellar will hold its German Christkindl Market, from 3 to 6:30 p.m. at 277 W. Old Cross Road. Vendors will show food and gift items, and musician Rich Follett will perform. Information: 740-9035

The town’s ‘Tis the Season celebration will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday with open houses at area business until 5 p.m. The Christmas parade, sponsored by the New Market Area Fire and Rescue Department, will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Congress Street. At 5:30 p.m., the tree lighting ceremony will be at the town hall and include refreshments.

Caroling by Shenandoah Valley Academy students, pictures with Santa, readings from selected children’s holiday stories, giveaways for children and a book sale will follow. At 7 p.m., The Harrisonburg Harmonizers will sing at The Schultz Theatre, 9357 N. Congress St., with $12 tickets for adults and $10 for students and seniors. Information: 740-9119,

A book sale will be at the New Market Area Library, 160 E. Lee St., from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and a wine tasting will be from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation Building, 9222 Congress St., for $10 per person or $15 per couple, and will include a glass and light refreshments. ID required.

Christmas on the Farm will be at the Virginia Museum of the Civil War, 8895 George Collins Parkway, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Make tree ornaments for the town tree or the home. Play period games and write out Holiday Mail for Heroes, for United States servicemen and women overseas. Enjoy music and storytelling, reenactors and the 2 p.m. museum theater show, “Ole Time Christmas.” Information: 740-3101,

• The holiday parade in Harrisonburg will begin at 7:30 p.m. Friday on the corner of Grattan and Main streets, ending at the Rockingham County office building on Gay Street and followed by a tree lighting ceremony in Court Square. The James Madison University Marching Royal Dukes will perform a holiday concert, and carriage rides through downtown will be free to children younger than 3, $3 to children ages 4-7 and $5 for all others. Information: 433-9168,

• In Berryville, Home for the Holidays will start with Friday’s Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Rose Hill Park at 6 p.m., followed by refreshments in Barns of Rose Hill. Saturday, a Christmas parade will be followed by a visit with Santa at The Bank of Clarke County. Sunday businesses will have special hours. At the Barns, a Toy Shoppe will be from 1 to 5 p.m., a holiday dance concert by the Blue Ridge Dance Studio at 2 p.m. and a concert by the Blue Ridge Choristers at 7 p.m. Information: 955-5187,

• The 37th Annual Holiday House Tour in Winchester will be from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday in homes on South Stewart and South Washington streets. Following the Bough and Dough Shop at the Winchester Little Theatre, 315 W. Boscawen St., from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., the evening begins with a preview party. Information: 667-3577,

• Stephens City‘s Sixth Annual Christmas on the Commons will be from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., at the Newtown Commons on Main Street. The family-friendly event will include ornament decorating for children, the popular Critter Tree, fresh baked goodies and seasonal beverages. The Aylor Middle School band and Sherando High School band and chorus will perform. The tree lighting will be at about 5 p.m. Information: 869-3087

Contact Community Engagement Editor Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137, ext. 176, or