Holiday Happenings 2018

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Your Guide to Upcoming Christmas Parades & Events

Staff Reports


Early December will be full of festive family fun in the Twin Counties, with Christmas-themed activities ranging from caroling and parades to a holiday ballet and musical performances.

The holiday season kicks off this Saturday, with events in Hillsville, Independence and Fries; and continues next weekend with more fun in Galax.

To plan your festivities, here’s a schedule of what’s happening in the area:


The most wonderful time of the year has come to historic downtown Hillsville, where the community can enjoy the Christmas spirit by gathering to admire holiday decorations, tree lightings and a parade on Main Street that will be held Dec. 1.

The event will be free, and is sponsored by the Town of Hillsville, which invites all to attend. Stocking stuffing begins at 5 p.m., the Christmas tree lighting will commence at 6 p.m., and the parade will follow at 7 p.m.

This year’s parade theme is “Christmas at the Movies,” an idea from The Friends of Hillsville, which encourages everyone to dress as their favorite Christmas character. Town officials say they are excited to see the costume turnout, and hope to see characters from the most popular Christmas specials; including “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” and “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

During the event, the town will provide free stockings for local children, and civic organizations and businesses will help fill them. The Friends of Hillsville welcomes anyone who is interested in participating in the community celebration to contact the organization via Facebook messenger.

The Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home Foundation will hold a unique holiday fundraiser this year on Dec. 8 from 1-6 p.m.

Members and friends of the foundation have worked diligently on decorating the historic downtown Hillsville home for the holidays, and the event features 12 large Christmas trees that are placed throughout rooms on the main floors.

Local businesses have donated $100 each to sponsor trees, and a judging will take place to determine the most exquisite tree.

Foundation President Elizabeth Huff thanked the following tree sponsors: Dennis & Sue Ward, Dr. Bradley Nester, Dr. Dan C. Worrell, The Friends of Hillsville, Lindsay Howlett, Honeycutt Law Office, Nuckolls Drug, Odell and Parke Quesenberry, Rainbow Creations, Road Rider Market, Russell’s Garage, Tommy Neff Insurance Company and Vaughan-Guynn-McGrady Funeral Home.

Huff also extended gratitude for “all the hard work and resources” that the following tree and decoration creators have put into the project: Parke Quesenberry, Ideal Florist, Hillcrest Florist, Hillsville Woman’s Club, Patricia Drennen, Lynn McLennan, CCHS Interact Club and Fancy Gap Pottery.

In addition to the Christmas décor, the home will also provide refreshments and hot apple cider, along with live music and lively holiday cheer.

Santa Claus will also be present for photo opportunities and to give candy presents to children of all ages.

Admission for the event is free, and donations will be accepted and greatly appreciated. All proceeds will go to the Hale-Wilkinson-Carter Home Foundation to aid with maintenance repairs and continuing revitalization efforts.

More information can be obtained by contacting the Foundation at (276) 728-5600


Galax’s annual Christmas parade will be held on Dec. 7 from 7-8 p.m., starting from North Main Street and heading south. There will be a tree-lighting ceremony beforehand in the courtyard of the Harold Snead Safety Building, 353 N. Main Street, at 6:30 p.m.

There will also be a “Day of Christmas Movies” at the Rex Theater on Dec. 22. The schedule is: 2:30 p.m., “Rudolph & Frosty;” 4 p.m., “Polar Express;” and 6:30 p.m., “Miracle on 34th Street.” Admission is free; concessions are available for cash only.

The High Country Lights show is also illuminating Felts Park in Galax, daily from 6-11 p.m. through New Year’s Day. The animated 100,000-plus light display is choreographed to Christmas music. Visitors can tune their radios to 96.5 FM and enjoy the show from the warmth of their cars, or hike around the walking trail and listen to the music. There are also outdoor speakers, and a walk-through tunnel near the tennis courts. Admission is free.

Chestnut Creek School of the Arts’ Holiday Artists Market is underway. Every day until New Year’s Day, the market will be held during school business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.); the last week of December, it will run 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

CCSA will also hold an open house with refreshments on Dec. 7 before the parade at 6 p.m.

The Conservatory of Dance and Theatre will presents its 14th annual production of “The Nutcracker,” performed by the Galax Youth Ballet, at the Galax High School auditorium. Shows will be held on Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 9 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10 and children age 10 and younger are free.


The Town of Independence will celebrate Christmas with the annual parade and festival on Dec. 1.

The theme for this year’s event is “A Green Christmas.” The Christmas parade will begin at 3 p.m., with floats traveling down Main Street from Food City to the Independence Town Park.

Immediately following the parade, citizens are invited to the town park for free hot chocolate, cider and snacks; and photo opportunities for the kids with Santa Claus.

A tree lighting will also be held in the park following the parade.

The Independence Farmers’ Market will return for its final Winter Market on Dec. 1 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., featuring local food and crafts.

The market also will hold its annual Chili Cook-off that day. Contestants are asked to bring their crock pots of warm chili to the market by 10:45 a.m. The contest is free to enter; and guests can pay $5 to taste entries and vote for the winner.

The first place winner of the cook-off will win $100; second place will win $30; and third place will win $20. Winners will be announced at 1:30 p.m. The contest and the market will be sponsored by Ward Manor.

In addition to the Chili Cook-off, the Winter Market will feature locally grown and made products and crafts for holiday shopping and free kids’ activities. Pre-ordered pesticide-free trees will be available for pickup. Christmas trees are fresh and locally grown in Grassy Creek by the Joyce family.

For more information about the town event, contact Mary Ann Halsey at maryann@independenceva.com, or call (276) 768-8656.

The Historic 1908 Courthouse in Independence will be a place to celebrate Christmas early this year.

“Christmas on the Town Square” is a series of events planned by the Historic 1908 Courthouse Foundation, featuring a number of participating local businesses, entertainment and open house events.

Participating businesses this year will include: The Pear Tree, Paddleyax Kayaks, Ivory’s Antiques, Independence Florist, Square One, Roots at Grayson Restaurant, Grayson County 4-H, the Blue Ridge Music Center, Grayson LandCare and the Grayson County Historical Society.

The Historic Courthouse Foundation is being assisted with the event by two other sponsors: Grayson County and the Town of Independence. Other sponsors are expected to join the effort at a later date.

The first event at the courthouse will be held Dec. 1. The courthouse will be open from 1-4 p.m. the day of the Town of Independence Christmas parade, which begins at 3 p.m.

On Dec. 7, the courthouse will be open from 2-7 p.m. Christmas carols will be performed by the Grayson County Chorus; and The Highland Camerata will perform its annual Christmas concert at 7:30 p.m. in the Baldwin Auditorium.

On Dec. 9, the courthouse will be open from 4-6:30 p.m. The New River Bell Ensemble will present its annual concert at 3 p.m. in the Baldwin Auditorium.

Refreshments and gift tables will be provided during all three open house events.


The Fries Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department will hold its annual Christmas Parade on Dec. 8, beginning at 6 p.m.

The theme of this year’s parade is “Joy to the World.” The parade lineup will begin at 5 p.m. at the old mill site.

All are invited to attend the event.

The Fries Farmers Market is wrapping up the year with two final appearances before 2019.

There will be an open house for existing and prospective vendors at the Fries Visitors Center on Dec. 1, 4-6 p.m. Current market vendors and anyone interested in becoming a new vendor are welcome at the open house, which will serve refreshments.

The market will also hold a fundraiser selling hot cocoa and cookies at 4 p.m. on Dec. 8 in front of the Fries Visitors Center, before the Fries Christmas parade. All are encouraged to visit the booth and grab a cocoa and a snack to warm up for the parade.

The Fries Visitors Center and Gift Shop is located at 151 Main Street in Fries.