Get out your ice skates and snow gloves, your Christmas shopping list and any requests for Santa — Fayetteville’s Host of Christmas Past is this weekend.
The 21st annual event, which brings thousands to downtown Fayetteville each November, will kick off Friday, Nov. 8, at 5 p.m. with the Elgan Brooks Memorial Christmas Tree Lighting and continue Saturday from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. and Sunday from 1 until 5 p.m. with two days packed full of activities for the whole family.
Host organizers are excited to bring ice skating to downtown Fayetteville for the first time in the festival’s history with the Bank of Lincoln County parking lot transformed into an ice skating rink. For those who would rather just play in the snow, the grassy lot next to Bank of Lincoln County guarantees a romp in the white stuff. And, with all the ice and snow in Fayetteville on Saturday, Channel 4’s Snow Bird is expected to join in the fun, making a visit here during the afternoon.
“We are so excited to be bringing ice skating to Fayetteville for the very first time,” said Carolyn Denton, executive director of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, which sponsors the annual Host festival with Fayetteville Main Street and local businesses, organizations and volunteers. “This is a memory the entire family can share.”
Carol Foster, director of Fayetteville Main Street, says that along with fun for the entire family, the festival brings a big boost to the local economy each year.
“Each year the excitement of Host of Christmas Past increases, and this year it has reached a high level with the new ice skating event,” Foster said. “This will be something for the whole family and a lot of fun.
“Host of Christmas Past brings two types of excitement to Fayetteville,” she added, “one with the fun and laughter of each event and one with knowing how much it helps our local economy. Several businesses say that Host of Christmas Past is their 13th month in revenue. We sincerely appreciate everyone that has a part in this weekend, whether it is hosting an event, attending the events or both.”
Denton expressed special appreciation to the supporters who help make Host a reality each year.
“We appreciate our supporters,” Denton said. “Without their monetary contribution, the festival wouldn’t be possible. Each year, Host of Christmas Past has a huge impact on our local economy by bringing in thousands of visitors.”
Along with the new ice skating event, many of the crowd favorites return this year – musical performances, trolley rides, workshops, storytelling, visits with Santa and, of course, unique shopping opportunities in downtown Fayetteville.
Following is a list of activities set for this year’s Host. For more information, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 433-1234. A complete list of activities and starting times is available at www.hostofchristmaspast.com.
Elgan Brooks Memorial Christmas Tree Lighting on the courthouse lawn at 5 p.m., followed by caroling by the Rock Family Worship Center; Memories in a Flash on the courthouse lawn; tours of Winter Wonderland at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum; and “It’s a Wonderful Life” production by Carriage House Players at the museum auditorium.
Kiwanis Reindeer Run; musical performances on the courthouse lawn bandstand from 8:45 a.m. until 5 p.m.; Memories in a Flash on the courthouse lawn; Four on the Floor Street Dance from 7 until 10 p.m. on the square; storytelling with Jerry Mansfield in the courthouse; handbell concert at the Fayetteville Municipal Building; ventriloquist Lesha Everett at the municipal building; Elves Nails & Glitter Tattoos at Salon 201; Party Hair at The Party Paige; Paint at the Art Teacher’s Studio;
A silent auction of original artwork from local artists at Bagley & Bagley Insurance; Christmas movies at the Lincoln Theatre; antique radio collection belonging to Dr. Jerry McKinney at Ashby Hardware; High Tea Lace, Linens & Luxury at U.S. Bank; photos with Santa Claus at U.S. Bank; a quilt contest at Sir’s Fabrics; Christmas Bow Village at Sir’s;
Elves Workshop at First United Methodist Church; an open house at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church; a cow train at Regions Bank parking lot; horse drawn carriage rides at Regions Bank parking lot; hot chocolate with Mrs. Claus at Bank of Lincoln County Victorian Home; Ten Thousand Villages at First Presbyterian Family Life Center; The Flat Creek Dancers at First Presbyterian Church; concerts at First Presbyterian Church sanctuary featuring Coleman March Ensemble and Maple Hill Celtic Band; candlelight walking tour beginning at First Presbyterian Church; a cemetery stroll at First Presbyterian Church Cemetery;
Vendor’s Village at Fayetteville Recreation Center; Snow World at Bank of Lincoln County, featuring ice skating, snow and a visit from Snow Bird; Winter Wonderland Tours at the museum; pony rides and a kidz zone fun bounce at the Farmers Market near the museum; Elk Valley Crafters Show at Lincoln County High School; and craft show and business expo at Riverside Christian Academy.
Alpha Kappa Home Tours from 1 until 5 p.m.; Elk Valley Crafters Show at Lincoln County High School; and Vendor’s Village at Fayetteville Recreation Center.