Christmas festivities kick off this weekend

Although Thanksgiving is still a week away, the merry decorations — and frigid temps — signal that Christmas is just around the bend.

Ski season returns to the Shenandoah Valley this weekend as the slopes of the Bryce Resort in Basye reopen on Saturday and Sunday.

Kids can get started working on their letters to Santa Claus, and drop them off in one of his special mailboxes spread throughout Winchester starting Monday.

Speaking of the bearded fella, Santa Claus visits Downtown Front Royal from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday for Holly Jolly Saturday.

The event features family activities, holiday entertainment and trees and wreaths for sale at the Main Street gazebo.

For more information, call 540-635-9909.

Local crafters and bakers will also be at the Browntown Community Center’s Christmas Bazaar from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are scheduled to make a special appearance at the center at noon.

The community center is located at 96 Browntown Road in Bentonville. For more info, call 540-636-3588.

The Bright Box Theater in Downtown Winchester presents a drag show replicating some of the world’s top divas: Tina Turner, Beyonce, Diana Ross, Dolly Parton, Liza Minelli, Adele and even Patsy Cline.

The Bright Box Divas female impersonation show begins at 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

For more info, visit

Other events include:

Empty Bowl Soup Supper — The Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter hosts its biggest fundraiser of the year at Central High School. Each ticket includes one handmade bowl donated by a local potter. // 1147 Susan Ave., Woodstock; 5:30 p.m. Friday; $15-35; 540-459-3212;

That Darn Plot — A playwright’s characters come to life in this comedy presented by the Schultz Theatre. // 9357 N. Congress St., New Market; 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sun.; $11-13; 540-740-9119;

Deck the Halls Gala — The Blue Ridge Arts Gallery transforms into a holiday wonderland, and features an auction to support ongoing programs and art outreach in the community. // 305 E. Main St., Front Royal; 7 p.m. Friday; $10 suggested donation; 540-635-9909;

Turkey Trot 5K/10K — The fifth annual race starts and finishes at the Massanutten Military Academy track, and benefits the Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter. // 614 S. Main St., Woodstock; 8 a.m. Saturday; $30-35; 540-459-2142;

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or

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