WEST JEFFERSON —Downtown West Jefferson was full of holiday cheer this past weekend as the season kicked off with festivities such as the holiday parade and “Light Up the Town.”
Town officials hoped that “Light Up the Town,” sponsored by SkyLine Membership Corporation, would help encourage those who came out for the parade at 3 p.m. to stay downtown to shop and eat locally.
“I think the reason we do it is to kick off the shopping season and to encourage folks to shop local,” Karen Powell, Skyline Public Relations Administrator, said. “It’s so important.”
Hot Spot owners Bud Sears and Jennifer Barker said they were hopeful that people would stick around after parade and venture into some of the downtown businesses before “Light Up the Town” began.
“They’ll have some time to kill before that starts and if they haven’t been in some of the shops, then maybe they’ll check them out,” Barker said.
“I think it keeps people downtown longer,” Town Clerk Wesley Barker said. “They go in and eat at the restaurants and some of the businesses are open later.
Rachel Brown of Martha Mae’s Emporium, one of downtown West Jefferson’s newer businesses, said prior to the parade that the store had seen an increase in foot traffic.
Bohemia also appeared busier than usual following the parade with a long line of people waiting to buy warm beverages after standing in the cold weather for the parade’s long duration.
Prior to “Light Up the Town” visitors were also able to enjoy hot cider and Star Wars themed characters.
Gary Brown, owner of Boondocks Brewing Tap Room and Restaurant, N.C. House Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Edward Hinson of SkyLine flipped the switch during the “Light Up the Town” ceremony outside town hall, lighting new displays in the Backstreet Park and downtown bump outs.
“I think it’s a great kick off to the holiday season,” Hinson said.
Celebrating 100 years
In recognition of West Jefferson’s centennial, the parade was themed “celebrating 100 years.”
Edith Jones and Bryce Blackburn were selected by the Centennial Committee Board to lead the parade as grand marshals.
The two were followed by the centennial float which represented all the centennial events held throughout 2015 including the West Jefferson 100th birthday celebration, the West Jefferson school reunion and the sock hop/street dance.
“It’s representation of everything we did from the start,” Melba Jones, Centennial Committee member, said. “It’s so pretty and I’m just so excited.”
Jones said that the floats were created with the help of Barry Davis, Talara Parrish, Joanne Woodie and Nancy Edwards.
Continuing West Jefferson holiday events
Chance to win: There is a chance to win at least two gift baskets filled with donations from local businesses. The baskets are sponsored by the West Jefferson Business Association and winners will be drawn on Saturday, Nov. 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce. Anyone can enter for free at any participating businesses downtown.
Small Business Saturday: Shop local in downtown West Jefferson for small Business Saturday, a nationally recognized shopping holiday held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Holiday Farmers Market: Join the Ashe County Farmers Market for handmade items, canned goods and holiday decor from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Nov. 28 and Dec. 5.
Hometown Christmas Kickoff: Many activities will be featured on the Backstreet on Nov. 27 including the Community Tree Lighting at 5:30 p.m. followed by a visit from Santa and friends, old fashioned fire truck rides, hot chocolate and caroling. The Centennial Beard and Mustache Contest will be hosted from 4:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
Tree Fest at Ashe Arts Center Gallery: Seven thematically decorated Christmas trees reflecting the magic of the holidays and the Christmas Miniatures exhibit will be open Nov. 24 to Dec. 29; Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4p.m.
Ashe County Choral Festival at the Ashe Civic Center: Choral students from Ashe County Schools combine forces for an evening of music on Dec. 3 at 7 p.m.. Tickets at $3 for adults and students.
Christmas Gallery Crawl: Stroll the streets and visit 17 galleries and craft shops in West Jefferson’s Arts District on Dec. 4 at 5-8 p.m..
Saturday with Santa: Visit with Santa and friends at the Ashe Arts Center on Dec. 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Reservations are required with a cost of $5.
Arts Center Open House: Visit the Arts Center for early holiday shopping, Tree Fest and the Christmas Miniatures exhibit on Dec. 5 at 11:30 am. to 4 p.m..
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.