By KATHLEEN SHAW
Daily News-Record 11/30/19
TIMBERVILLE — It may not be the Star of Bethlehem, but one Christmas star is illuminating the way for people to the Shenandoah Valley this holiday season.
Timberville Christmas Village held its second annual tree lighting Friday with the magic of Santa and help from children who counted down for the ceremony.
Lined by renovated horse stables housing artisan vendors with a brilliant centerpiece tree and wafting aromas from cinnamon-roasted nuts and savory Ethopian curry, the village is a haven for holiday cheer.
Community Art & Recreation of Timberville (CART) is a volunteer-based nonprofit that created the attraction last year as a platform to uplift local craftspeople and serve as a place to gather and recognize the small town’s touristic potential.
Plans are beginning to take shape for American Legion Park, located next to Plains Elementary School, the new spot for the holiday village. Ned Overton, a town council member on the board of directors for CART, said the six-acre plot will be used to bring out-of-towners into Timberville.
“The two major industries in Virginia are agriculture and number two is tourism … tourism is fabulous,” Overton said.
Many visitors at the village for the tree lighting ceremony were local residents who had watched the shop space grow over the past weeks. Bobbi Jo McGirr lives in Broadway and came with her husband to enjoy the lights and cheer.
“It’s the talk of the town. I love it,” McGirr said.
Riding in on a fire truck, Santa arrived to light the tree but will stick around the village until Christmas for families to take photos. Photographs with ole’ Kris Kringle are free and any donations will go to Shop With A Hero, which provides for local law enforcement to purchase presents for families.
Next week, angel wings will be added onto the horse stable closest to the road as a photo opportunity for visitors. Maggie Garber, daughter of town manager Austin Garber, is painting the holiday decoration this year and said the wings are painted in a way she hopes will capture the colorful spirit of the town.
“I took a lot of inspiration from murals in Mexico. They’re a little bit fun and festive in ways not necessarily associated with the holidays,” Maggie Garber said. “There’s a growing culture in our area, and I thought it’d be interesting to represent that.”
Today at 3 p.m., Mayor Don DeLaughter will be honored as a hometown hero by ALCOVA Mortgage LLC, an award the business grants to veterans for continuing their service in the community after serving the country. DeLaughter served four years in the Army, two years in the National Guard and then came home to Timberville to work as deputy sheriff, head bailiff, council member and mayor.
Horse- drawn carriage rides will be available from 12- 6 p.m. today for free. Every Sunday features live music, Dec. 1 will have Christmas carolers, Dec. 7 will have a beer garden with a specially-brewed beer from The Friendly Fermenter, Dec. 14 welcomes MurLarkey Distilled Spirits and Dec. 21 is a cookie and milk eating contest. Santa’s send off is Dec. 22.
Next Saturday, former NFL player for the New England Patriots Darryl Haley, who now runs Darryl Haley’s Bed & Breakfast Retreat in Luray, will sell bonbons and other baked goods in the stall near Carriage House Roasters.
Katie Auville, owner of Grillizza, returns for a second time as a vendor at the village with a booth loaded up to your eyeballs in farm- to- table baked goods, quiches and hot soup. Typically a vendor at Broadway’s farmers market, Auville said she loves the village because preparing food for the event helps put her in the seasonal spirit.
“It actually gets me in the mood for Christmas, and I’m normally a Grinch,” Auville said.
Last year’s village was located in the Food Lion’s parking lot and was attended by approximately 6,000 visitors, according to Overton. This year’s village is at 325 American Legion Dr. with milk jugs-turned lanterns lighting the way. A full list of events at the village is available at www.timbervillechristmas.com.