By Carra Higgins
It’s time to celebrate the holidays. Beckley is offering residents and visitors a list of opportunities, including the annual parade Saturday, to get into the festive spirit as the Christmas season arrives.
Events begin at 5 p.m. tonight at the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine with the Appalachian Coal Town Christmas Celebration. The Celebration event ends at 9 p.m. and will be offered again from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
It’s been two years since the Exhibition Coal Mine has offered the Christmas Celebration, and Director of Operations Leslie Baker said she and the staff are looking forward to bringing it back to the community and offer families “good, clean, wholesome fun.”
Tickets to the Appalachian Coal Town Christmas Celebration are $10 for adults and $5 for children. The Coal Town Christmas Celebration will include a marshmallow roast, horse-drawn carriage rides, caroling sing-alongs, an ornament workshop, the underground tour, and more.
Also on tap for tonight at 7 p.m. is “One Appalachian Christmas” presented by The Youth Museum & Theatre IV in the new Raleigh Theatre on Neville Street. The play is set in Appalachia during the Great Depression and is the tale of young children who are afraid Santa will not come visit and what they do to ensure their family has a Christmas. Seating is limited and tickets will be sold at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. Admission is $3 per person.
Saturday’s Christmas celebration events kick off at 1 p.m. with Beckley’s annual Christmas Parade, “The 12 Days of Christmas.” Dr. Julian Chipley, parade coordinator, said Thursday that approximately 27 floats, several animals, six bands, around 12 classic cars, several fire departments and more will greet and entertain spectators lining the streets of Beckley.
“To me, and many generations, this is the kickoff of Christmas in Beckley,” Chipley said.
Chipley added that because of the warm and sunny weather predictions, it should be a good year to enjoy the parade.
The parade will begin at Park Avenue and go right onto Third Avenue, right onto Neville Street, left onto Heber Street, right onto Main Street, left onto Kanawha Street, left onto Prince Street and end at the Beckley Police Department.
Santa Claus will make his appearance and bring smiles to children at the end of the parade. Santa will also be on hand after the parade when awards — best overall, religious, commercial, organizations, schools, walking unit, animal unit and classic car — are handed out in Jim Word Park.
After the parade at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, several area choirs will perform a free Christmas concert at Beckley Presbyterian Church, at 203 S. Kanawha St.
From 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 9, the Wildwood museum will be open for Christmas at Wildwood, which includes an open house, tours, refreshments and carolers. The Wildwood Museum is located off South Kanawha Street, across from Memorial Baptist Church. For more information about the event, call 304-252-3730.
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