Thanksgiving is on Thursday and following that the 2021 Christmas season officially begins. With it comes a lengthy list of activities planned in Mingo County with most of them on Saturday, Nov. 27, and Saturday, Dec. 4.

The Williamson Great White Way presented by the City of Williamson is set to kickoff the season with a slate of activities beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 27.

“I am very grateful that the Williamson City Council has given me the opportunity to lead and organize the Christmas events in the city this year,” said Williamson Events Coordinator Tonya Webb. “My goal is to bring back that nostalgic feeling we all felt growing up in the area as well as the excitement of spending Christmas in town and with our community. It is important to me to have that small town feel and provide children and families with a variety of activities to do in hopes to make some wonderful and magical memories they will always remember.”

Webb said this year’s events are a little different than years past but the city has also tried to stay true to some of the older traditions as well.

The newest event for the Williamson Great White Way is the addition of a beauty pageant. The event is being organized by Gretchen Hensley and Kelly Bucci and will be held Saturday, Nov. 20, at the Williamson Fire Department.

“Whoever is selected queen will participate in our Christmas events, will be featured in the Christmas parade and will be a spokesperson until the next queens are chosen in 2022,” Webb said.

The traditional Christmas tree lighting event will be combined with the Williamson Great White Way on Nov. 27. The ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. just before the parade at 7 p.m., Webb said. In addition, families, churches, organizations and businesses are encouraged to personalize or make homemade ornaments to be hung on the tree.

Events scheduled for the Williamson Great White Way include:

Christmas Bake Off beginning at 3 p.m., Williamson Fire Department;

Gingerbread house decorating, 4 p.m., Andy’s Pizza;

Ornament decorating, 4 p.m., in front of the Coal House;

Scavenger Hunt and Letters to Santa, 4 p.m., in front of the Coal House;

Reindeer Run, 5 p.m., in front of the Coal House;

Candy Cane Hunt, 5:30 p.m., in front of the Coal House;

Christmas Tree Lighting, 6 p.m., in front of the Mingo Couty Courthouse;

Christmas Parade, 7 p.m., downtown; and

Visits with Santa, 8 p.m., Williamson Fire Department.

Following the Williamson Great White Way, the HeArt of West Virginia will be hosting Christmas AF (Art Fair) at the Downtown Yoga studio. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event will be a come-and-go event throughout the night.

According to Jim Pajarillo, who is coordinating the event, there will be several local artists on hand who will be displaying and selling their work.

“We wanted to create an event for the evening that is a little different,” he said. “We want this to be a fun evening where people can mingle with our artists in a causal environment. We encourage people who attend to dress in any manner that represents Christmas to them, whether it be formal wear, costumes or ugly sweaters. We want this to be a Great White Way after party to cap of the day’s events.”

Pajarillo said refreshments will be provided during the event.

Another event scheduled on Saturday, Nov. 27, is the second Matewan Christmas Tree Lighting. The event will be held in downtown Matewan beginning at 7:30 with an ornament hunt before the lighting ceremony. After the tree is lit, participants will be allowed to decorate the tree with the ornament they found.

There will also be hot chocolate and live music. The evening will end with a fireworks show.

The next weekend, Friday, Dec. 3, and Saturday, Dec. 4, will be the Delbarton Great White Way Christmas Extravaganza sponsored by the AIM (Action in Mingo) Group and the town of Delbarton.

This is a new event for Delbarton and will follow the format of AIM’s tradition Great White Way celebrations formerly held in Williamson.

“We are having wonderful support from a lot of volunteers that are wanting to make this the best event ever,” said AIM President Jada Hunter. “God has opened a bigger door for us. We have never had so many volunteers in the past. Our planning meetings have had a wonderful, warm and positive spirit.”

Events begin on Friday at 5 p.m. with hayrides through the town and a tree lighting at 6 p.m.

“This is a first ever event for the town of Delbarton,” Hunter said. “We want to encourage everyone to come out to the tree lighting all of the other events during the Delbarton Great White Way.”

The Miss Snowflake Beauty Pageant will begin at 6:30 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule is as follows:

8 a.m., Pancake breakfast, Connolly Memorial Baptist Church;

10 a.m., Gingerbread Workshop, Delbarton Opry House;

11 a.m., Horse and carriage rides, downtown;

11 a.m., Christmas displays including unique dolls, quilts and trains, Delbarton Town Hall;

Noon, Christmas Carols every hour on the hour, at the Town Gazebo;

Noon, Spelling Bees for children and adults

1 p.m., Storytelling

2 p.m., Holiday Bake Off, Opry House;

2 p.m. Ornament Workshop; Opry House;

3 p.m., Reindeer Run, at the Gazebo;

4 p.m., Ugly Sweater Contest;

4:30 p.m., Parade line up, Town Hall; and

5 p.m., Parade, downtown.

After the parade, there will be meet-and-greet with Santa at the Opry House. Free chili and hot chocolate will be served along with samples from the Bake Off.

Also, on Saturday, Dec. 4, the town of Gilbert will conduct is annual Christmas Parade at 2 p.m. Following the parade, Santa will be at the Larry Joe Harless Community Center to visit with children. Around 6 p.m. that evening, the town will have its Christmas Tree Lighting.

The town of Kermit and ABLE Families will host their annual Christmas in the Park followed by the town’s Christmas Parade on Friday, Dec. 3.

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