Why come home to North Central West Virginia for Christmas? There is a long list of reasons – and they are all on the nice list. Here in our City of Bridgeport, we are all looking forward to the 18th Annual Light Up Night on Thurs., Dec. 1 and the Bridgeport Christmas Parade on Sat., Dec. 3.
Light Up Night – that event to which residents always compare a Hallmark movie scene – does deliver holiday magic. Folks packing Main Street count down in unison as the switch is flipped on the giant city Christmas tree and fireworks fill the air. Then, of course, there’s the dozens and dozens of city businesses offering everything from hot donuts and cocoa to ornaments and light-up novelties – all at no cost.
Just a couple days later – 10 a.m. on Dec. 3 – the streets are lined again as the annual Bridgeport Christmas Parade features holiday performances, beloved home sports teams, twirlers, dancers, clubs, churches, and Jolly Old St. Nick and his sidekick Mrs. Claus. Hey, by the way, as is tradition, the pair will be at Light Up Night too!
Sat., Dec. 3 will also feature the annual Jingle Bell Jog. Bring an unwrapped toy for the Salvation Army Toy Drive and experience the festive 5K which starts 8:30 a.m. at the Benedum Civic Center. All morning, the Bridgeport Lions Club will be cooking and serving pancakes at the annual club fundraiser, also at the Civic Center.
But there’s so much more. And I’ve listed them in order, so you can fill that calendar in.
The 5th Annual Market in the Park will be held Nov. 19 at Morris Park in Fairmont. On that evening, the park is open only to pedestrians who can get an early peak at the Celebration of Lights set up across the park. The Nov. 19 event will feature Artisan’s Village, an open-air holiday market with artisans, vendors, and food trucks. Santa will be on hand, as will Christmas carolers and a live nativity scene.
The first full weekend for the Celebration of Lights at Morris Park is Nov 25, 26 and 27. Motorists drive through the 500-plus holiday light displays, which have captured the attention of the state and region. Hours each day are 6-10 p.m. The lights will be available to see throughout the holiday season. For more information, click HERE.
The City of Weston is also kicking the holidays into full gear this month. A 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25, a parade will conclude with the lighting of the city tree in the parking lot of Robert L. Bland Middle School.
On Tues., Nov. 29, the City of Grafton will feature Cookies and Cocoa with Santa at Gallery 62 West by Taylor County Arts Council, 62 West Main Street. Not only can the kids enjoy a visit and photos with Santa, but the entire family will take in the sight of the city’s Festival of Trees. The event takes place 5-7 p.m.
The 2nd Annual Tree Festival will take place Sat., Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec.4 at Almost Heaven Barn along Saltwell Road. I attended last year and it was so much fun! Outdoor activities, a hot cocoa bar and firepit, crafters, and dozens of decorated trees await. And you might just get to take one of the trees home with you. All trees – and lots of gift baskets, as well – will be raffled off; partial proceeds to benefit Wings of Hope, a community-based volunteer-driven organization which assists the needs of cancer patients at United Hospital Center.
Clarksburg will once again feature “WinterFest Come Home for Christmas” Friday, Dec. 2 and Sat., Dec 3. Friday will feature the nighttime Clarksburg Christmas Parade in downtown Clarksburg with so many units representing the area with various high school marching bands included. As the celebration continues into Saturday, visitors will enjoy a Winter Market of Artisans, food vendors, holiday concert, children’s activities and local school and artist performances.
At the Wonder Bar Steakhouse in Clarksburg, “Cocktails and Candy Canes Holiday Pop-Up Market will take place 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. It’s a festive opportunity to shop small with local artisans, listen to live local music, enjoy signature cocktails, hot cocoa and coffee bar by Almost Heaven Desserts, and holiday mini photo sessions.
The City of Shinnston kicks off the holiday season with the Shinnston Christmas Parade 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3.
On Sat., Dec. 11, West Virginia songwriters and performers will come together for “Songs and Stories” at Music on Main in Bridgeport. There is a $10 cover charge to hear the lineup including Annie Neeley, Shannon Jones, holly Turkovich, Hannah Cottrill. Doors open at 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Dec. 13 will feature the 2022 Reindeer Run 5K at Morris Park in Fairmont. Antlers and Santa outfits are optional. Holiday spirit is not. Those who take part in the timed 5K will take in a private viewing of the Celebration of Lights as the park will be closed to motorists that evening. Pre-registration is $25 and includes a limited-edition T-shirt and goodie bag. For more information, click HERE.
While in the area, book a ride on the North Pole Express via the Potomac Eagle Scenic Railroad in Romney. Seats are available Fridays through Sundays in November and December and the full week prior to Christmas. The 75-mile interactive ride includes a Santa experience, milk and cookies, storytelling, and singing. At the station, travelers will experience an event barn with activities, write letters to Santa, photo ops, coloring stations, and a nativity with live animals. For more information or to book, click HERE.
Keep checking back as I will add events to this list as information becomes available! Julie Perine can be reached at julie@connect-bridgeport.com.