Extensive planning and rethinking have changed the popular Christmas in Historic Chatham for 2006. Exciting new features will broaden the town’s celebration to reflect its 300 years of Christmas rather than a single era. Participants will now enjoy guided tours of two historic districts either by carriage or bus, and join with crafters and re-enactors who will demonstrate their skills. All will savor the diverse culture of a community that has been building its Christmas tradition for three centuries.
Christmas in Historic Chatham begins Friday evening with a “Festival of Carols” at the 1857 Pittsylvania Courthouse followed by a “Yule Log Ceremony” at the nearby 1813 Clerk's Office. In the first, community groups lead the audience in singing traditional carols as the town’s lanterns are illumined for the holiday. A candlelight procession moves participants toward a fire at the Clerk's Office where they toss their sprig of holly onto a fire to “secure” good luck for the coming year and “toast” the joy of the season with cider and ginger cookies.
New to the Friday evening is a special edition of “Sound Check,” an open mic venue for teens that provides an opportunity to share performance talent. Sound Check begins immediately following the Yule Log Ceremony.
Saturday is a busy day. Children begin the day with a “Breakfast with Santa” where they will participate in games from another era. Carriages and buses will carry participants through two different districts to view the “Doors of Chatham” and join with re-enactors to discover the special history of each. Guided walking tours are also available. A special “Doors of Chatham” calendar helps fund a music program for area children.
Throughout the morning, participants will meet a wide variety of crafters who will demonstrate their craft. Of course, there will also be vendors selling these crafts as well as other items suitable for the holiday season.
Three music programs feature one of Chatham's three historic tracker organs and a wide variety of both vocal and instrumental offerings. Highlighting the music program is a concert of “Old Time Music” presented by professionals who have extensively studied this phenomenon. Appropriately, the festivities end with a Christmas Cantata performed by the united choirs of local churches.
Country ham biscuits at the town park, fresh roasted peanuts by the bag, a bustle of activity among crafters and re-enactors, or a leisurely carriage ride with a friendly guide, Christmas in Historic Chatham takes on a new image that promises a whole new adventure to mark the beginning of the Christmas season. For information call 434-432-1669.
This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications.
Copyright © 2006 Patricia B. Mitchell.