December opens with Christmas festivities

Christmas decorations going up and events scheduled for this weekend make it clear that Christmas is coming up.

The Shenandoah Arts Council welcomes its newest exhibition with a reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Amy Barley, interim director of the gallery, said the exhibition will focus on abstract art and expressionism, and features paintings from seven local artists: Don Black, Suzanna Bryan, Kathy Dansie, Helga Hohn-Heiberg, Winslow McCagg, Julia Menge and Josie Tilton.

“I think it’ll help give people an understanding of what abstract and expressionism means,” she said. “Most people would have to Google it.”

Several of the artists will be at the reception, and will also return on Wednesday for a panelist discussion at the gallery.

Events are free to attend and are open to the public. There will be refreshments offered at the reception.

The exhibition will run through Jan. 3.

The Shenandoah Arts Council is located at 811 S. Loudoun St. in Winchester.

For more info, visit http://www.shenarts.org or call 540-667-5166.

The Front Royal Oratorio Society presents its annual “Candlelight Christmas” concert of songs and carols “proclaiming the radiant message of Christmas.”

Two free performances are scheduled, at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Braddock Street United Methodist Church at 115 Wolfe St. in Winchester and at 4 p.m. Sunday at the Front Royal Presbyterian Church at 115 Luray Ave. in Front Royal.

The town of New Market fills with Christmas cheer during its ‘Tis the Season celebration this Saturday.

The New Market Library has a book sale from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., North Mountain Vineyard hosts a wine tasting in the New Market Welcome Center from 2 to 5 p.m. and a Christmas Parade on Congress Street kicks off at 5 p.m.

Following the parade, a tree lighting ceremony will be held at the New Market Town Hall and Santa Claus will visit the library.

The Virginia Museum of the Civil War, at 8895 George Collins Parkway, will present “Christmas on the Farm” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, with ornament making, music and storytelling. Admission into the museum is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors 65 and older and $6 for kids 6 to 12.

For a list of the events, visit http://www.goo.gl/Ut6EJN

Fellowship Bible Church’s “Follow the Star” returns to the Kernstown Battlefield this weekend.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, performers will lead visitors on a guided walking tour of the nativity story.

Admission is free, and refreshments will be available.

Other events include:

Holiday Market — Cave Ridge Vineyard hosts a variety of vendors and farms selling locally made gifts, including Passage Creek Farm, All Things Virginia @ The Farmhouse, Edinburg Gap Llama Farm and Laureen’s Bakery. // 1476 Conicville Road, Mount Jackson; 1-4 p.m. Sat.; Free

Impeached — Winchester’s alt rockers perform at the Lucky Star Lounge. // 205 E. Main St., Front Royal; 9 p.m. Sat.

Book signing — Michael Cobb and Wythe Holt, authors of “Battle of Big Bethel: Crucial Clash in Early Civil War Virginia,” present and sign copies of their book. // Winchester Book Gallery, 185 N. Loudoun St., WInchester; 2 p.m. Sat.; Free

Unsilent Night — The Shenandoah Conservatory and Bright Box Theatre invite volunteers to participate in their street caroling project. // 15 N. Loudoun St., Winchester; 7:30 p.m. Sat.; Free; http://www.goo.gl/u45eKx

Christmas parade — Middletown shuts down U.S. 11 for its first ever Christmas parade, featuring floats, Civil War reenactors and more than 50 horses. // Main Street, Middletown; 2 p.m. Sun.; Free

Light Up Woodstock — A parade, tree lighting ceremony and choir of carolers highlight this Christmas festival. // Woodstock; 6-8 p.m. Fri.; Free

Christmas in Middleburg — A trip to horse country is well worth the day of festivities and parade of horses, hounds, llamas, alpacas and Santa Claus in a horse-drawn coach. // Middleburg; Sat.; $5 for parking; http://www.goo.gl/ytsIeK

Contact staff writer Ryan Cornell at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rcornell@nvdaily.com