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Getting ready for Christmas

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Season moves into full gear

By Tom Wilmoth

    There will be plenty of opportunities to celebrate the Christmas holidays over the next several weeks as communities come together in a variety of activities.

    From parades, to firing up the Christmas lights; visits with Santa to church plays and cantatas, area groups and organizations are hard at work to provide the best in Christmas festivities.
    There are also plenty of opportunities to help others.
    And, of course, to shop.
    Local events include:
Christmas happenings
 in Centertown Bedford
    This year’s festivities in Bedford Centertown have something for everyone.
    Beginning Friday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m. Centertown will be looking for the  arrival of Santa in the Centertown Park.
    The jolly old guy is invited to work his magic by flipping the switch to light the Christmas tree in Centertown Park. For those who might want a picture with Santa, John Langston of JL Photography will be on hand to do the honors.
    After Santa leaves the Park, he may even lead the children to his special Santa Land, which will be open the next three Fridays before Christmas (Dec. 7, Dec. 14 and Dec. 21).
    The downtown Christmas tree this year was donated by Bedford Evergreen and will be decorated with special handmade ornaments made by Bedford County School students.  Bedford Main Street challenged the students to a contest for the best hand made ornament in each age category - elementary, middle and high school. Winners will be announced at the tree lighting.  
    Also, to add to the festivities, Liberty High School art students, under the guidance of Leslie Padgett, will be adding to the winter wonderland they created last year
     The very next day, Saturday, Dec. 1, Bedford Main Street, Inc. will present the annual Christmas parade at noon (rain date Sunday, December 2 at 5 p.m.).  That event is always a huge hit for everyone and a great way to move into the holiday season.
    But there’s more.
    On Friday evenings before Christmas—December 7, 14, and 21—in addition to having Santa in Santa Land, there will be horse drawn carriage rides leaving between 6 and 9 p.m. from the Farmers Market. Tickets may be purchased that evening at Bedford Hardware or at the Bedford Main Street Office in advance. Adults - $4; children (12 and  under) $2. Hot Chocolate and cookies will also be available for purchase.
    For more information call Bedford Main Street at 540-586-2148.

Elks National Home
official lighting
    Visiting the Elks National Home during the Christmas season to view the extensive outdoor display has become an annual tradition for many families. The Home is pleased to be able to make this holiday gift to the public.
    Executive Director Pamela M. Mutter, has announced that the official lighting of the display will take place Friday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. The ceremony will be held in the Home’s spacious dining room.
    James L. Nichelson, a past national President of the Elks, will be the principal speaker and will throw the master switch to illuminate the lights for the first time this season. Other Elk dignitaries and the presidents of many Elk state associations will be present; and many government and local officials have also been invited to attend.
    The Home’s Christmas display, which is open to the public, will be illuminated each evening from 5:30 to 10 p.m., Dec. 14-31. It is anticipated that more than 25,000 cars with over 100,000 visitors will enjoy the splendor of the illuminated Christmas scenes and over 50,000 lights, thereby making the Elks National Home the focal point of Bedford, the “Christmas Capitol of Virginia.”
    For more information on the lights at the Elks National Home, you may call 540-586-8232 or 1-800-552-4140.

Downtown Moneta Christmas Parade, Light Up Night
    A Christmas movie-themed parade will be held at Downtown Moneta on Friday, Nov. 30.
    Festivities will include tree lighting at the Downtown Moneta Square and an appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Food and drink vendors and horse-drawn carriage rides will also be provided. The event will run from 6-10 p.m.
    Marching bands, sports teams, choirs, clubs, church groups, non-profits, businesses and individuals are welcome to be in the parade.
    The parade will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Bethlehem United Methodist Church and will travel around Downtown Moneta and the Mayberry Hills neighborhood.
    Santa will arrive on a horse-drawn sleigh and will light the town Christmas tree.
    There will be music enter-tainment by the Harmeneers.
     Applications for parade entries are still being accepted and can be found at www.DowntownMoneta.com. Proceeds from the entry fees will be donated to the Moneta Fire Department. 
    Call 540-871-0321 for more information.