A full slate of holiday activities begins tomorrow in Mingo County and will continue throughout the month. Various celebrations are scheduled in each of the counties five municipalities with the largest events being held in Williamson and Gilbert.
The Christmas season will kick off this weekend and next in Williamson. The first event is the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce Christmas Market. The event is held each year in correlation with the national Small Business Saturday event, according to Chamber Executive Director Wes Wilson.
Small Business Saturday began as a way of encouraging people to shop locally at smaller enterprises that typically get forgotten about in the frenzied shopping on Black Friday. This event is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The Christmas Market will begin at 11 a.m. and run until 4 p.m.
“The Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce Christmas Market will be hosting several different activities during Small Business Saturday on Nov. 9,” Wilson said. “Activities will be found in different locations around Williamson to support the TVCC members and small businesses in the area.”
• Vendors will be set up at the Farmers’ Market location at the corner of Harvey Street and Third Avenue;
• The Williamson Farmers’ Market will be selling live Christmas trees;
• The “I Can 2” program and “Pete the Cat” will set up an art table for children’s activities;
• The Williamson Rotary Club will have a “Letters to Santa” table set up where children may write letters and place them in the Santa Mailbox; and
• A photography exhibit and local authors book signing featuring Chamber members will be hosted in the Mountaineer Hotel lobby.
The Williamson CVB will take over following the Christmas Market with the Williamson Christmas Kickoff from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“We want to encourage all of our downtown visitors to really go all out and decorate those windows and shops,” said Tonya Webb, Tug Valley Area CVB vice president. “Join us as we light up the town’s Christmas tree and decorations transforming Williamson into a Winter Wonderland.”
Attendees will be able to stroll through town to see all of the business decorations, drink hot chocolate, listen to carolers, participate in a candy cane scavenger hunt and ugly sweater contest and then visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
The Annual Great White Way will be held the following Saturday, Nov. 7, starting with a Gingerbread Workshop at 10 a.m., according to Jada Hunter, president of the AIM (Action in Mingo) Group which puts on the event every year.
“We will have caroling on the steps of the courthouse starting at 11 a.m. and continuing until the parade begins,” Hunter said. “We invite all area choirs, individuals and groups who would like to sing to show up and take part in this event.”
A variety of activities will take place in the old Cinderella Theater building including the Bake-Off Contest with cash prizes being awarded in three categories: cakes, cookies and miscellaneous; displays and contests for unique dolls, quilts and train sets; and an ornament display featuring the creations of local school students.
A Festival of Trees will be displayed in the old J.C. Penny building. Hunter said the event is open to any business, organization and family that would like to decorate a Christmas tree. Also, all area businesses are encouraged to decorate their storefront in all white lights and decorations.
The featured event during the Great White Way will be the annual Christmas parade that brings Santa back to Williamson for another visit. Following the parade, Santa and Mrs. Clause will be at the Cinderella to meet and talk with children. During this time hot chocolate, wassail and chili will be served. Also, items from the Bake-Off can be sampled.
The Town of Gilbert will see events throughout the month according to Cheryl Mitchem. She is the director of the Larry Joe Harless Community Center where Christmas caroling will take place every Sunday in December beginning at 2 p.m. each week. Refreshments will be served.
On Friday, Dec. 6, the town will host its annual Christmas parade beginning at 6 p.m. Line-up will be at the Gilbert Volunteer Fire Department. Following the parade Santa and Mrs. Clause will be at the LJHCC for milk and cookies.
The community center will also host its Christmas Bazaar on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7, with the 4th Annual Community Christmas Dinner from noon to 4 p.m. A Christmas Cookie Exchange will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8.
Landau Eugene Murphy will present his Home for the Holidays concert on Friday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m., at LJHCC. He will be joined by Larry Groce. Tickets for the event can be purchased from the Landau Home for the Holidays website at 12/13 Landau and Larry - Home for the Holidays.
On Saturday, Dec. 14, the Gilbert Kiwanis Club will host its annual pancake breakfast with Santa from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Gilbert VFD.
ABLE Families and the town of Kermit will present the Second Christmas in the Park event on Saturday, Dec. 6, beginning at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature a tree lighting ceremony, hot chocolate, special singing, visits with Santa and a live nativity.
The Annual Matewan Christmas Parade will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14. Line-up for the parade will begin at 5:30 p.m. at the Matewan Grade School. The parade will begin at 6 p.m. and will proceed from the school to the Matewan Railroad Depot Replica.
The Delbarton Hometown Christmas 2019 will be held on Friday, Dec. 20. The event will from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the town hall. The event will feature treat bags, crafts, photo opportunities and possibly a small parade.
Many churches, civic organizations and private businesses will also host a variety of Christmas activities during the month of Decembember.