This Friday, November 25th, 2011, Shepherdstown, WV, kicks off the year-long celebration of its 250-year history. That’s right: 250 years. It’s hard to believe that West Virginia’s oldest town is actually older than the United States itself, but it’s true—by nearly thirty years. So you have to admit, there’s a whole lot of heritage, culture, history, memories—you name it—attached to this quaint little haven nestled quietly atop the Potomac River. Needless to say, there’s a whole lot to celebrate. And this Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, Shepherdstown 250—the organization in charge of making this celebration a reality—will put the festivities in motion.
The night begins downtown at 6:15 p.m., on McMurran Lawn, with an introductory speech by Mayor Jim Auxer, followed by a model train show, an ice sculpture festival, and a comedy performance at the Shepherdstown Opera House—beginning at 9 p.m. This night also celebrates the annual start of Christmas in Shepherdstown—whereby German Street rooftops will glisten with lights, and the town will attract admirers from far and wide through the holiday month. With both events occurring simultaneously, one weekend simply isn’t enough to embrace such spectacle—so the following weekend: December 2nd, 3rd, and 4th will pick up where this weekend leaves off. All told, attendees will enjoy a surplus of holiday activity and celebration, including: The Grand Tree lighting and Santa’s arrival, the traditional bonfire, horse-drawn carriage tours, live music, the model train show, the ice carving festival (with live demonstrations), a community dinner at Shepherd University, a Christmas Bazaar (art, greens, and baked delicacies), and the charming Home Town Christmas Parade.
Rest assured, however, the recognition of Shepherdstown’s remarkable birthday is only getting started during November and December. Shepherdstown 250 has nearly a year of activities and events planned to commemorate this monumental piece of American history. The theme: Remember – Celebrate – Imagine is meant to elicit deep reflection for the town’s rich past, and hope-filled recognition for its thriving present and promising future. Over 120 organizations, agencies, societies, institutions, clubs, businesses, and individuals have partnered with Shepherdstown 250 in order to guarantee that the next year will honor the previous 249 with the distinction such history deserves.
The event will ultimately conclude with the Coming Home weekend on November 11th and 12th of 2012. Between now and then, Shepherdstown will see visitors from around the world, and the town itself will become an even greater ambassador for American heritage than it already is. This is something that should not be missed. It truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Don’t wait—make one, or both, of these weekends in Shepherdstown a must-do on your holiday list.
For a wealth of additional information and details, visit the event’s comprehensive website at shepherdstown250.com, as well as Shepherdstown, WV 250 on Facebook. Also, for more information on the lovely Christmas celebration in Shepherdstown, simply visit christmasinshepherdstown.com.
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