Despite rain, New Market brings in the yuletide season

Gail Bange, a wine barrista with North Mountain Vineyard, pours a glass of Oktoberfest at the wine tasting at the Lee-Jackson Building in New Market. Henry Culvyhouse/Daily.

NEW MARKET– Despite the driving drops of rain, the Town of New Market kicked off the Christmas season with the eighth annual “Tis the Season” holiday celebration on Saturday.

From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., small businesses along Congress Street held open houses, providing cookies, piping hot apple cider, candy and ginger ale to customers. From 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. New Market Area Chamber of Commerce members, the town government and the Shenandoah Valley Battlefields Foundation held a tasting featuring wine from North Mountain Vineyard at the Lee-Jackson Building.

Brittany Clem, the town’s event and marketing director, said the events are a mixture of new and old.

“The wine tasting is new as of last year,” Clem said. “What we try to do is keep specific events consistent and keep doing those every year, and then we also like to spice them up a bit and try new things this year.”

One long-standing tradition is the Congress Street Christmas parade, which is followed by a tree lighting at Town Hall at 5 p.m. Santa also made an appearance at the New Market Library.

Tom Constable, a former New Market mayor, remembers the first Christmas parade held in 2006.

Roger Bowman, a New Market resident, sips on red wine at the wine tasting at the Lee-Jackson Building on Saturday. Henry Culvyhouse/Daily

“We went through town with the parade, then lit up the Christmas tree,” Constable recalled. “Then we went around town in a group, signing Christmas carols and stopping at businesses along the way, where the owners would come out and introduce themselves.”

Clem said she feels the celebration is an opportunity for the community to come together and ring in the holiday season.

“It’s just a fun event, it’s an option for people in New Market to be able to do something in their town that they can be proud of and proud of their town for doing it,” Clem said. “It’s also an opportunity to get all our organizations out and working together on an event.”

According to Clem, one group she tried hard to involve in the event was local students.

“We have Shenandoah Valley Academy students, Ashby Lee students, Stonewall Jackson students involved in making ornaments for our tree this year,” Clem said. “We have so many ornaments we don’t know what to do with them.”

Clem said the events also served as a way to market the town to people outside the area.

“One of our goals is create events to bring in visitors and tourists to not only make this a place that is pretty to pass through, but make it a place where people might want to stay, and maybe come back for their vacations,” Clem said.

On Saturday night, the Schultz Theatre performed a Christmas-themed variety show called “Holiday of Stars.” Performing 80 shows a year, the Schultz Theatre is a vital component for attracting visitors to the town, Clem said.

“The Schultz Theatre is a gem,” Clems said. “They are a part of keeping people coming to town, keeping that interest there.”

However, with the downpours, attendance at the events was sparse.

“When we schedule these events, we can’t predict the weather,” Clems said.

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Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com