The festival, held on the second weekend in November each year, sees Fayetteville become the sitting for a magical holiday experience, with an array of food, exhibits, shops, candlelight and Christmas spirit, as the entire community rolls out its collective welcome mat.
A brochure featuring all the events and activities included in this year’s “Host” is available from the Fayetteville/Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and Fayetteville Main Street as well as at numerous local merchants. It is also available online at hostofchristmaspast.com.
“This event is for people of all ages,” said Barbara Wright, a member of the festival committee, recalling how “Host” got its start.
In 1991, a committee, consisting of Alice Barrett, Bill Summerville, Tom Redden, Peggy Fitzpatrick and Marie Caldwell met and began brainstorming about a festival to promote Fayetteville/Lincoln County and the downtown area. A Christmas-themed festival was decided upon.
In keeping with the annual Christmas Open House tradition begun by The Flower House 25 years earlier, the date of the second weekend in November was set. Since then, other florists, businesses and organizations have participated, making this truly a community event.
Credit goes to Peggy Fitzpatrick for naming the festival and to Cindy Stefko for designing the nutcracker logo still used today.
The festival will get underway Friday, Nov. 9, with the lighting of the Elgan Brooks Memorial Christmas Tree on the courthouse lawn at 5 p.m. This year’s tree lighting is in memory of the late Fredna Smith for her years of service to the “Host of Christmas Past.” Other activities are planned Friday evening.
Then on Saturday, the festival swings into a full array of activity, beginning with the Kiwanis Reindeer Run. A day of music, crafts, workshops and other types of fun is planned across the city.
On Sunday, Nov. 11, the Alpha Kappa Home Tours will feature five beautiful homes as the Elk Valley Crafters’ Show continues at LCHS and Winter Wonderland at the Museum.
“This festival has the undisputed reputation of being Fayetteville’s number one event and rightfully so,” said Mrs. Wright. “If you have any questions, please call the Chamber of Commerce at (931) 433-1234 or Fayetteville Main Street (931) 433-7006.”