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Merry Christmas in July!

By Heather Samudio (heather.samudio@mountaintimes.com)



Article Published: Jul. 3, 2013 | Modified: Jul. 8, 2013
Merry Christmas in July!

The BackStreet of downtown West Jefferson will host the 27th annual Christmas in July Festival Friday and Saturday, July 5 and 6.
File photo



Christmas in July, West Jefferson’s annual downtown street festival, will kick off at 6:15 p.m. Friday, July 5, with a giant puppet parade by the Elkland Art Center.

The parade begins at Ashe County Public Library and will lead the way to the main stage on Main Street for the 6:45 p.m. opening ceremonies.

West Jefferson Mayor Dale Baldwin, along with Santa Sam and other local officials, will open the festivities.

Friday night will feature a street dance with performances by Clay Lunsford, the Buck Haggard Band and Wolf Creek until 10 p.m. Food vendors will be open for business Friday night.

On Saturday, the festival begins at 9 a.m. and will feature more than 100 craft vendors, organizations and food vendors.

Vendors will feature handmade arts and crafts, and area non-profit organizations will offer information about the services they offer and how interested individuals can get involved.

Food will feature traditional festival fare of hamburgers, hot dogs and funnel cakes, as well as Mediterranean, Greek and more.

This is the 27th annual celebration for an event that finds its beginnings with the local Christmas tree industry. The festival formed to celebrate the planting and growing of the popular Fraser fir.

In honor of the industry and the festival’s history, the Ashe County Christmas Tree Association will sponsor a competition to find the best Christmas tree crew.

Contests will begin at 9 a.m. with a fertilizer backpack relay, followed by a one-ton fertilizer relay at 10 a.m., tug of war at 10:45 a.m. and tree baling at 11:30 a.m.

The Ashe County Farmers’ Market will open during the festival hours, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., featuring locally made arts and crafts and fresh, homegrown produce and baked goods.

Civil War re-enactment groups will set up in Bowie-Seagraves Park behind the library. Skirmishes, ceremonies and other demonstrations related to the Civil War era will be presented with re-enactors dressed in clothing from the period.

From arts activities at Creation Station to a moonwalk and climbing wall, children can take part in the holiday festivities.

Roving street performers will also interact with the crowd and present magic shows and street theater.

Saturday will see a variety of performers, including King Street Brass, Zephyr Lightning Bolts, Brandygrass, Backporch Bluegrass Band, Jeff Little, Wayne Henderson, Freeman and Williams, The Cockman Family Band and others.

The community stage will feature dance groups, cloggers and a puppet show from Elkland Art Center.

At noon Friday, Main Street between Jefferson Avenue and BackStreet will be closed to vehicular traffic. By midnight Friday, the closed area will include all streets involved with the festival, including Main Street between Jefferson Avenue and Church Street, BackStreet from Ashe Street to Second Avenue, State Street at Jefferson Avenue and College Street from Main Street to First Avenue.

Paid parking will be available at Fifth Third Bank, First Citizens Bank, the old Yadkin Valley Bank near Sears, First Baptist Church and West Jefferson United Methodist Church. Both churches are located on Second Avenue.

Sponsors include Ashe Civic Center, Ashe County Arts Council, Fleet Feet Cloggers, Mountain Aire Golf Course, LifeStore Bank, Dr Pepper, AEV, Town of West Jefferson, Fifth Third Bank, Skyline Telephone Membership Corporation, Ashe Mountain Times, 580 WKSK and the Jefferson Post.

For more information, visit http://www.christmasinjuly.info or contact the Ashe County Chamber of Commerce at (336) 846-9550. T­­­o volunteer at the festival, contact Glenda Luther at (336) 246-2461, extension 225.

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