Walking in a Main Street Wonderland: Celebrating the Holidays in Virginia

If you are looking for the holiday spirit, look no further than Virginia’s Main Streets.  Whether a holiday shopping promotion, a tree lighting, or a downtown evening carriage ride, there is a special experience just for you and your family.  Our partners at #VirginiaTourism make sure you can plan this season’s special moments with the greatest of ease through event listings and search engines. Here are a few highlights of what Virginia’s charming towns and cities have to offer throughout December:

Light Up the Tracks, Ashland – See downtown Ashland as a mile long holiday card all lit up for the season each weekend.

Christmas Parade, Blackstone – This annual family event, planned for December 14, is one part of a full calendar of weekend Santa visits, shopping specials, and the not-to-miss Bevell’s Hardware train display.

Festive Fridays, Cape Charles – Five nights of free, family-friendly festivities, including carriage rides, street performers, live local music, restaurant specials, and evening shopping.

Holiday Market, Abingdon – Support the local businesses by shopping at the Abingdon Farmers Markets’ Holiday Market with vendors selling produce, meats, baked goods, clothing accessories, jewelry, paintings, wine, confections, and canned goods.

Big Band Holidays, Lynchburg – The recently renovated historic Academy of Music Theater hosts the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis, bringing out the magic of the holiday with soulful renditions of holiday classics.

When it snows, ain’t it thrilling; though your nose, gets a chilling; we’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way; walking in a [Main Street] wonderland!

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Ashland’s Light Up the Tracks

From Farmers Market to European Bakery

24 of the 25 designated Virginia Main Street communities have active farmers markets. In addition to being great places to buy locally-grown produce, eggs and meat, farmers markets also serve as small business incubators. As pointed out in Ashley Fletcher Frampton’s article, Entrepreneurs Get Start at Area Farmers Markets, the low start-up costs and captive audiences at farmers markets allow entrepreneurs to develop a following, experiment with pricing and marketing, ramp up sales and move on to larger ventures or permanent storefronts.

And, that seems to be exactly the scenario followed by Lynchburg’s Lorraine Bakery. After years of baking breads and pastries at home, in 2007, Petra Hackman, her husband Steve and their children rented a temporary stall at the Lynchburg Community Market.  The family’s beautifully-crafted, European-style breads quickly garnered a loyal following. A year after setting up their temporary stall, the Hackmans were able to establish a permanent store front still in the Community Market known as the Lorraine Bakery. The bakery now offers more than two dozen different types of European-style breads in addition to pastries, crepes and other sweet and savory delights. According to one fan, “it’s a little bit of Europe in Lynchburg.”

Lynchburg’s Community Market opened its doors in 1783 and is purported to be the third oldest farmers market in the country.  Perhaps it is also the third oldest business incubator in the country. For a truly “local” experience that shouldn’t be missed, and to scout out new up and coming businesses, take a trip down to your community’s farmers market or stop by the Lynchburg Community Market when you are in the area. The market is open year-round, Tuesday-Saturday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.