By Sarah Richardson
With the cancellation of the Lewisburg Holiday Festival due to COVID-19 concerns, the merchants of downtown Lewisburg began to brainstorm other ideas to make sure this holiday season is a magical one. Usually a two-day weekend event, the Lewisburg Holiday Festival has previously been a short, but perfect time to get local shopping in for the holidays with businesses offering specials, extended shopping times, and more. This year, the festival is being replaced with a seven-week long event titled The Magic of Christmas in Lewisburg.
“We are excited to spread the holiday cheer over seven weeks,” says Yarid’s Manager Nina Blankenship, one of the coordinators of the event. “We are spreading it out so it’s not all in one weekend like the Holiday Festival.” She emphasized that local shops will continue to require social distancing, mask usage, and limited numbers of shoppers in the store at one time to comply with COVID restrictions. Extended shopping hours will make it easier than ever browse after work for the perfect gifts.
Running from Nov. 6 through Dec. 24, the whole town will transform into a holiday wonderland with decorated windows, tree lights, and giant snowflakes, as well as a coordinated holiday story running page-by-page across storefronts up and down Washington Street. The StoryWalk is an innovative way for all ages to enjoy reading and the outdoors at the same time. The Greenbrier County Library has taken the reins on the project, and is choosing two stories to run for the event.
“Right now I think the plan is to start the story at Yarid’s,” said Blankenship, “and it will run all the way down Washington Street and then back up the other side.”
Previous participating StoryWalk businesses (in order) are Yarid’s, the Greenbrier County CVB, Love Child, Wolf Creek Gallery, Merle Norman Cosmetics & Boutique, Bella The Corner Gourmet, Edith’s Store, and then across the street at Patina, A New Chapter, Harmony Ridge Gallery, Food & Friends, and The Market.
Also available on Saturdays from Nov. 21 through Dec. 19 will be the classic holiday carriage rides. City National Bank has graciously sponsored the carriage, and rides will be available for purchase from 2 to 6 p.m.
There will also be a giant mailbox, courtesy of Harmony Ridge Gallery, situated next to the holiday tree in the Greenspace to mail letters to Santa at the North Pole.
“My favorite part of the event is the ‘vote for your favorite Christmas window’ contest,” said Blankenship. Shoppers can vote on their favorite storefront by casting their votes at the Visitor’s Center. When you vote you are entered to win a $100 gift card to a local business, and once a week for five weeks a winner will be drawn.
“Right now the stores are starting to get their specials together,” said Blankenship, with sales, giveaways, and holiday treats all in the plan.
More information will be released at a later date. Call the Visitor’s Center for more information at 888-702-1076. Visit “The Magic of Christmas in Lewisburg” Facebook Page for the most up-to-date releases.