Downtown Blacksburg’s Winter Lights Festival set for Friday

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The downtown Blacksburg area will be a festive, fun-packed hub of activity Friday with something for everyone during the Winter Lights Festival.

Downtown Blacksburg will officially kick off the Christmas season with the eleventh annual Winter Lights Festival Friday

A special feature of the festival is TubaChristmas, presented byDowntown Blacksburg, Inc., and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech. TubaChristmas has been a festival traditional since 2009. Tuba players should contact ecrone@vt.edu to participate.

Downtown businesses will host an open house from 4-8 p.m. with late-night shopping, gift wrap, snacks and beverages and holiday specials. Festival goers can vote for their favorite holiday tree and Micah’s Backpack gingerbread house in Kent Square.

The festivities also include a holiday gift market on College Avenue, Santa & Mrs. Claus at the Lyric, the Winter Lights Art Walk, and the ever-popular tree-lighting ceremony with the Blacksburg Children’s Chorale, Blacksburg mayor Leslie Hager-Smith, Santa and Mrs Claus and a crew from WSLS 10.

The Blacksburg Children’s Chorale will be offering up carols all around the downtown area throughout the evening.

Immediately following the tree-lighting Ceremony, TubaChristmas will begin on the Henderson Lawn stage right across from the Lyric Theatre. Singing alone with the tubas is encouraged.

This magical evening will conclude with Blacksburg’s Holiday Parade down Main Street through the heart of downtown. The parade is co-sponsored by the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department and the Virginia Tech Chapter of Circle K.

The schedule for the day’s events

All Day: Vote for your favorite Holiday Tree in Kent Square; 3-8 p.m.: Holiday Gift Market on College Avenue; 3:30-5:30 p.m.: Santa & Mrs. Claus at the Lyric (bring your own camera); 4:15 p.m.: The Blacksburg Children’s Chorale In Kent Square; 4:30p.m.: The Blacksburg Children’s Chorale sings in Sugar Magnolia; 5-7 p.m.: Holiday Art Walk; 5:00 p.m.: The Blacksburg Children’s Chorale sings on the Henderson Lawn stage; 5:45 p.m.: Tree-lighting ceremony with the Blacksburg Children’s Chorale, Mayor Hager-Smith and Santa, & Mrs Claus; 6 p.m.: TubaChristmas on the Henderson Lawn stage, co-sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc., and the Department of Music at Virginia Tech; 7 p.m.: Holiday Parade co-sponsored by the Blacksburg Parks and Recreation Department and the Virginia Tech Chapter of Circle K. The makeup rain date for the parade is 1 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7

The Wilderness Chorus will be singing all around the downtown throughout the evening

There will be firepits for making s’mores. Hot chocolate will be passed out. Some classic Christmas movies will be playing in the Lyric to give everyone a chance to escape the cold for a few minutes.

Vendors for the festival are Poplar Hill Alpacas & Studio, Seeing Stone Botanicals, Jen Huffman Art, Sudden Shrines, Twofold Tie Dye & Accessories, Southern Trust Home Services, United Healthcare, Carly’s Kettle Corn, Rugged Meats, Shine your Light Candles, Dashing Dog Studio LLC, Hillbilly’s Jerky and Lauren Frauenthal Studios.

About Blacksburg Children’s Chorale

The Blacksburg Children’s Chorale was established in 2006 as part of the Blacksburg Master Chorale’s educational outreach. The children’s chorale is under the direction of Artistic Director Patrice Yearwood and Assistant Director Kaye Gilliam

Holiday Trees

to benefit Micah’s Backpack

The Kent Square lobby will be transformed into a Winter Wonderland with decorated trees provided by downtown merchants and community groups and gingerbread houses.

Festival goers may park in the Kent Square parking garage and bring the family to enjoy this spectacular new addition to the festival.

Everyone may vote for their favorite tree and their favorite gingerbread house from November 30- December 20. Ballots are available at Kent Jewelers for $1 for one tree ballot and one gingerbread house ballot. All proceeds go to Micah’s Backpack, a weekend backpack feeding program for hungry children in the Blacksburg community.

Just return your complete tree and gingerbread house ballots to Kent Jewelers and be entered to win a downtown gift certificate. The winners will be announced Saturday, Dec. 21, at 10 a.m. at the free showing of Elf in the Lyric Theatre.

The Christmas trees will remain on display through Jan 2, 2020. They were decorated by the Blacksburg Rotary Club, D.P.Dough, Energy Check, Hokie Bugfest, Kent Jewelers, Modea, the Montgomery County Christmas Store, Ozmo, Pointe West Management, The Wilderness Road Chorus, Sideline Orthopedics, Tuck Chiropractic, Warm Heart Village and the YMCA at VT

Gingerbread Houses at Kent Square

To benefit Micah’s Backpack

The procedure is the same for voting for a favorite in the annual gingerbread house decorating contest with all proceeds from the sale of house decorating kits and the ballots going to benefit Micah’s Backpack.

TubaChristmas

Tuba and euphonium players of all ages and all levels of ability are invited to take part in TubaChristmas with the conductor to be announced. Interested players should rsvp to ecrone@vt.edu.

The TubaChristmas schedule calls for registration to take place from 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. in room 243 Squires Virginia Tech, the VT Department of Music. The cost is $10.

Rehearsal will follow from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m.

A break from 5:15 to 6 p.m. will include dinner for the musicians of pizza, hot chocolate, hot coffee and water.

The performance will be from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the Henderson Lawn Square. Warm weather dress and plastic mouthpieces are in order. Chairs will be provided as needed.

Available for purchase during the TubaChristmas will be TubaChristmas hats and/or scarves for @0 each, music sheets of “Carols for a Merry TubaChristmas,” for $20 each and commemorative buttons for $5 each.

TubaChristmas is sponsored by Downtown Blacksburg, Inc, the School of Performing Arts Music, Theatre and Cinema and the Marching Virginians at Virginia Tech.

History of TubaChristmas

TubaChristmas was created by Harvey Phillips in 1974 and is now celebrating its 44th anniversary. This Christmas season TubaChristmas concerts will be presented in more than 250 cities and in several foreign countries.

Phillips was inspired to create TubaChristmas as an annual event honoring his mentor/teacher, the late great tubist William J. Bell (who was born on Christmas Day, 1902). Every Christmas season, tuba and euphonium players of all ages, from specific geographic areas, gather to pay respects to all the great artists/teachers who represent their heritage. Every TubaChristmas performance features traditional Christmas carols especially arranged (for the first TubaChristmas performance on Dec. 22, 1974, on The Rink at Rockefeller Center) by American composer Alec Wilder (who died on Christmas Eve, 1980).

Through Wilder, TubaChristmas concerts pay grateful tribute to composers who have embraced these noble instruments with solo and ensemble compositions. Depending on the population of any given geographic area, TubaChristmas ensembles may attract multiples of 100 participants aged 8 to more than 90. The warm, rich organ-like sound of the tuba-euphonium choir has won the ears and hearts of every audience.

It is no wonder that TubaChristmas has become an established Christmas tradition in cities throughout the world.

Holiday Parade

Entries are still needed for the parade, which begins at 7 p.m. Friday, with a rain date of 1 p.m. Saturday.

This year’s theme is “a Holly Jolly Holiday.”

The parade will begin on Stanger Street, will turn right onto Prices Fork Road, will turn right onto North Main St and will proceed down Main Street to end at Eheart Street.