Christmas of the past

Published 1:28 pm Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The living history residing within Virginia’s historic Martin’s Station, along with a drizzle of snowfall, made the perfect setting for a “Frontier Christmas” at Wilderness Road State Park over the weekend.

As always, the park encompassed a balanced mixture of both Appalachian culture as well as festive entertainment during the park’s 14th annual Frontier Christmas. Thanks to the park’s staff and reenactors, visitors had the opportunity to experience an authentic representation of what Christmas was like for 18th century Virginian frontiersmen.

“The program was very exciting, and the best part was the snow. Just as visitors gathered around the fire to sing carols, the snow began to fall and everyone loved it. It added the perfect touch to an already wonderful event,” said Chief Ranger Billy Heck.

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Greeted by Captain Martin himself, park-goers gathered valuable information regarding their heritage as reenactors taught them several colonial Christmas carols, as well as a brief history lesson presented by Park Interpreter Richard Beeler, all the while enjoying warm refreshments alongside a handmade fire.

“The activities, combined with the ambience of the decorated fort truly brought the history alive,” said Heck.

The history-filled event — credited as Martin Station’s final program for the year — was an installment of the park’s ChristmasFest program, which is an ongoing festival celebrating both Christmas itself as well as the individuality brought forth by the holiday season. With a new event each weekend, the program has proven to be a success, providing holiday fun for both children and adults.

While the festival is full of classic holiday entertainment, such as a visit from Santa himself, it is perhaps best known for its ability to display both the history of the season and its meaning to individuals throughout the community, as everyone is welcome to showcase their own decorations representing just that.

“We always love for people to come out and show their own trees and wreaths, because this gives everyone the opportunity to show the way they celebrate the holidays. I for one always have a wonderful time going around and seeing the individuality put into each of them,” said Betty Y. Smith, president of Friends of Wilderness Road State Park.

This weekend will mark the end of the festival, as children can expect a fun-filled Saturday with Dr. Seuss, leading into the reveal of the public’s favorite Christmas display on Sunday. Visitors are encouraged to cast their final votes this weekend before the reveal.