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Harpers Ferry and Bolivar scheduling light tour as part of 50th Annual Olde Tyme Christmas

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Nov 27, 2020

The gazebo on Washington Street will house Santa Claus, as a location to meet with children and their families while socially distancing. Toni Milbourne

HARPERS FERRY — Olde Tyme Christmas in Harpers Ferry has been a favorite of many in the area, as well as visitors, for many years. It has become tradition for those who travel to the small town to enjoy a step back into Christmas Past through tours, workshops and holiday cheer. This year, the tradition will continue, but with some modifications.

To help keep visitors and residents safe from the spread of COVID-19, the planners of Olde Tyme Christmas have eliminated many of the event’s traditional aspects, including all live entertainment at St. Peter’s Catholic Church. Entertainment for this season will be limited to traveling troubadors through the streets during both of its weekends, Dec. 5-6 and 12-13.

To add to the weekend, the committee has added a holiday light tour to the schedule. On the evenings of Dec. 5, 6, 12 and 13, from 6 to 8 p.m., visitors can traverse Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, with the assistance of a map or phone app, to see beautifully decorated storefronts and homes. Visitors will be able to vote for their favorite, resulting in prizes for those who receive the most votes.

While thoughts were given to canceling all festivities for this year, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, those on the event’s planning committee decided instead to move ahead as safely as possible, for what will be the 50th Annual Olde Tyme Christmas celebration.

While in years past, there have been multiple participatory activities, this year the organizers have planned to offer more craft and trade demonstrations, rather than hands-on lessons.

People dressed in Victorian garb will be seen milling around, and Santa will be at the gazebo on Washington Street for both weekends, where he will visit with children and their families and pose for photos. Children will be unable to sit on Santa’s lap; however, he will gladly take their wish lists.

Shops and restaurants will offer extended hours during the weekends, and many will offer special sales for the holiday season. Masks, social distancing and limited capacity in businesses will be required.

Also scheduled during the Olde Tyme Christmas event is the Tri-State Handmade Market, where visitors will be able to find handcrafted gifts. The market will open Dec. 12, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center just outside of town limits.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit harpersferry.com.