Ashe County’s premier event, the Christmas in July Festival will be held on Friday, July 4th and Saturday, July 5th. Friday night Opening Ceremonies, beginning at 6:45 p.m., will include a Giant Puppet Parade, Santa Claus, two bands, and a street dance. Saturday hours are from 9-7 p.m.
The puppet parade will be led by the Elkland Art Center and will feature large characters similar to those in a Chinese New Year celebration. It will begin at the Ashe County Library at 6:15 p.m., will weave its way through the crowd and end at the Main Stage before the opening ceremonies. People or groups interested in participating in the parade should call Glenda Luther at 246-2461, ext. 215.
Ashe County Farmers Market will be open Saturday offering locally made crafts and art. Additionally, more than 100 vendors will have booths selling arts, crafts and food.
Throughout the festival 12 bands will perform at the Main Stage at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Main Street. Friday night Buck Haggard Band and Wolf Creek Band will perform. On Saturday The Cockman Family Band, Wayne Henderson, Backporch Bluegrass Band, Freeman and Williams will be among the groups playing.
The Community Stage will feature the best of Ashe County’s young people being showcased in continuous entertainment. Dancing Debbies, April’s School of Dance, Fleet feet Cloggers, Julie Smith Flash Dance, Junior Appalachian Musician and the Elkland Art Center will perform throughout the day.
Saturday morning on the Backstreet between, 9 a.m. and noon, the Ashe County Christmas Tree Growers will sponsor a competition to see which grower’s crew is the best. Five member teams will compete for winner-take-all $1000 prize in relays, tree bailing and a tug of war.
The Ashe County Arts Council will sponsor Creation Station. Children’s activities will include face painting, clay play and crafts. A bounce house, slide and other inflatables will also be fun for the kids, offered by Off The Wall Productions. Theater by Jef will entertain with mime and street theater.
Civil War re-enactors will be in camp at Jefferson Park for story telling.
Friday at noon, Main Street between Jefferson Avenue and Backstreet will be closed to vehicular traffic. At midnight Friday the closed area will expand to the entire festival footprint. That will be 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 several locations. 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 on Second Avenue.
Sponsors of the Christmas in July Festival are 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 and Skyline Telephone Membership Corporation.
For more information about the Christmas in July Festival, contact the Chamber of Commerce at 846-9550, or to get involved as a volunteer, contact Glenda Luther at 246-2461 Ext. 215.