ABINGDON, Va— The holiday season is official underway in Abingdon, Virginia. The Abingdon Visitors Center, located in the newly renovated Fields-Penn 1860 House Museum, is partnering with several community organizations to roll out holiday activities starting this month. “Our community partners have come together for these exciting projects, making Abingdon a wonderful place to visit,” Tonya Triplett, director of economic development and tourism for the Town of Abingdon, said. Chad Thompson, tourism marketing coordinator for the Abingdon Visitors Center, said this is the first year he’s been involved with Christmas events for the town.
“I’ve never seen a community so committed to togetherness and bringing together the spirit of the seasons.” He quoted from an article in “Southern Living” that reads “If Frank Capra had made a Southern version of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ he might have set it in Abingdon, Virginia.” Abingdon Town Wide Merchant Open House The fun kicks off with a Town Wide Merchant Open House from 1 to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Nov. 20. Many businesses in town will offer discounts and refreshments that day. Check out the Facebook page for the Abingdon Visitors Center for updates on specials offered by individual businesses. “We’re also encouraging small businesses in town to decorate their windows and property in Christmas themes,” Triplett said.
The three top winners will receive cash prizes. Sally and Bobbie Lane, owners of Wolf Hills Antiques on Main Street, will decorate their store window with a large vintage Santa from the 1940s. “We’re bringing him back for a display again this year. We want to feature a window that’s going to be fun for everybody,” Sally Lane said. Jessica Smith, owner of Chellas on Main, has already decorated her store window with many of the unique gifts she sells.
“The town does a great job supporting small business owners,” Smith, who will participate in the open house on Nov. 20, offering customers discounts that day, said. A Festival of Trees The Abingdon Visitors Center, along with the Town of Abingdon, is offering A Festival of Trees, a brand new downtown event. As a sponsor for the event, Berry Home Center has purchased 10 live trees that will adorn the lawn of the visitor’s center.
Several trees also will be displayed inside the center. Local business and organizations have signed up to decorate the trees A tree lighting ceremony will take place at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 20, following the Town Wide Merchant Open House. The public is encouraged to vote for their favorite trees by placing donations of toothpaste, toothbrushes, children’s books and pet food by their favorite tree or trees. According to Triplett, the toothbrushes, toothpaste and children’s books will be donated to the United Way of Southwest Virginia.
The pet food will be given to the Animal Defense League of Washington County and Happy Tails Animal Rescue of Washington County. Donations will be accepted from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday through Dec. 30. According to Triplett, the tree with the most items cumulatively donated will win bragging rights. Songs of joy Under the direction of Mary Munsey, director of music at Virginia Highlands Community College, members of the Virginia Highlands Community Choir and the Virginia Highlands Women’s Choir will perform at 5:15 p.m.
Nov. 20 at the Abingdon Visitors Center during the lighting of the trees. “We’ll be doing light, entertaining carols that everybody knows,” Munsey, who will accompany the choirs on guitar, said. “If people want to join in, I’ll have some song sheets so they can sing along with us.” The community and women’s choirs are open to anyone in the community. “We have lots of retirees, community members, faculty, and some first-year students in the choirs,” Munsey said.
Contact Munsey at email@example.com if interested in joining a choir. The Women’s Choir will also perform in a free holiday concert at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Abingdon Arts Depot. Live streaming of the Christmas Parade The 2022 Abingdon Christmas Parade will reach a broader audience this year when the event will be live streamed at 6 p.m.
Dec. 3. Through a partnership with the Barter Theatre and Abingdon’s Information Technology Department, the parade can be viewed online, allowing people who can’t attend the parade the opportunity to join in the festivities. A live stream of the parade will be available on www.Youtube.com by searching “Abingdon TV.” Thompson, along with Terrance Jackson, director of outreach at the Barter Theatre, will provide commentary on the parade as they stand with microphones at the water fountain across from the Barter Theatre. “We’ve even arranged for people on the street to chat with them during the parade,” Triplett said. Holiday Driving Tour The Holiday Lights Driving Tour, which began last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, is returning this year from Dec.
1 through Dec. 30. The festive holiday event will feature lights and decorations from local homes and businesses in the Town of Abingdon, all of which can be seen while driving by. Triplett said the orchestrated event in 2021 covered more than eight square miles and featured as many as 40 light displays, including participants such as Barter Theatre, Martha Washington Inn, and many businesses along Main Street in Abingdon. “We live in such a magical small town, you could easily mistake it for one in the movies,” Thompson said.
“This holiday lights driving tour is a neat way to experience Abingdon in a fun, festive way.” Both print and digital driving tour maps will be available this month. For more information on the events, contact the Abingdon Visitors Center at 208 West Main Street in Abingdon at (276) 676-2282, or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.