With the 27th annual Christmas in July only two months away, the annual festival’s volunteer committee is making final tune-ups preparing for the event.
Christmas in July is a one full-day, and Friday night free-admission event featuring the very best in traditional mountain music and handmade crafts from throughout the mountains of North Carolina.
“The planning process for this festival starts a month after it’s over,” said Jane Lonon, the director of the Arts Council. “We have a solid committee.”
Some of the work taken on by the committee includes marketing, collecting sponsorships, and logistics (working with town maintenance and West Jefferson police). Also, the Christmas in July committee is divided into an “entertainment committee” and “vendor committee.”
“This is a volunteer community-based project,” said Lonon, “and it takes a tremendous amount of volunteer hours to pull this off.”
The 2013 Christmas in July will be located in the same area as the past two years. Craft vendors will set up on West Jefferson’s backstreet near the farmer’s market, and will stretch up West Main Street.
The food court will extend from the community stage near Parson’s Farms and end at the West Main Street intersection. According to Lonon, the food court will feature “traditional festival food,” like hamburgers, hotdogs and barbecue.
“The food court is filling up nicely,” said Lonon.
One area that could use more vendors is the “non-profit section,” located between the craft section and food court. This section will be reserved for local groups to engage festival-goers in fundraising efforts.
Christmas in July will kick off at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 5, and will host to two bands from 7-10 p.m. The festival will continue from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, July 6.
According to Lonon, the main stage will feature audience favorites like Wayne Henderson, and artists will play a mix of traditional music, bluegrass, and “a couple of new things thrown in.
In addition to the main stage, a smaller community stage will give local artist a chance to showcase their talents. The community stage will be utilized by Junior Appalachian Musicians and local dance groups.
Also, a Civil War reenactment will take place in West Jefferson Park. Specific show times haven’t been set; Lonon said the performers would engage in skirmishes throughout the day.
There will also be a puppet parade organized by Elkland Art’s Center, where puppets between six to eight feet tall will march through the festival. Christmas in July will also feature clowns, jugglers, mimes and magicians.
Not only does the event take several volunteer hours to plan, it also takes volunteer hours to operate the event. Anyone wanting to volunteer at Christmas in July should call Jane Lonon at the Ashe County Arts Council at 846-2787.