A Holiday with History

by Keith Patterson
We are blessed to live in a place that hearkens back to the fondest of our memories. The TV shows, movies, greeting cards, songs and jingles on the radio that seem so iconic in depicting the idyllic America of our collective nostalgia are actually describing the lives that we lead here in Clarke County. And never is it more evident than during the Holiday Season, as we remember those who have come before us, who lived and loved and died and suffered and prospered and all those who are still contributing their collective threads to the rich tapestry that is our ongoing cultural heritage.
There’s an old plaque in Berryville’s town square that gives a nice synopsis of the local history. After you’ve read said plaque, look around and up or down Main Street from where you’re standing. There is abundant history in either direction. Venture into and about our happy and historic town and you will not only encounter that rich history but also discover a whole boatload of happenings, both new and
traditional, the usual raft of drama and intrigue not-withstanding, that you may want to consider for your November and December Holidays Calendars.
On Friday, December 1 from 6–6:30 pm, the Berryville Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony will feature the Community Band playing Christmas carols while the local citizenry in attendance sing along by candlelight. The Clarke County High School Carolers will sing a few songs, the Parking Meter Contest winners will be announced and Mayor Dickinson will officially start our holiday season by lighting our town Christmas tree!
On Saturday, December 2, at 1pm, the annual Holiday Parade down Main Street is a tradition that goes back beyond the reaches of anybody’s memories that I’ve interviewed. It is and has ALWAYS been at 1pm on the first Saturday in December. See you there!
Also on December 2, The Firehouse Gallery at 23 E. Main Street presents a holiday art show, “Animal Portraits,” featuring the work of local artists, including silly cow-face raconteur, yours truly, Keith Patterson, and a wonderful new artist to the Firehouse Gallery, Michelle Sloane. The show will run through the end of the month. On Saturday, December 2, from 3–4 pm, there will be an opening celebration featuring some fine local wines and some live acoustic blues music by Jimi Frank.
Berryville Main Street has been very busy. New Director Liz Ryan is bringing some fresh vision and a lot of energy to the scene. There has been a makeover at the Firehouse Gallery. From the new interior paint job to the updated and improved selections of original artworks, prints, cards, jewelry, woodwork and ceramics, the Firehouse Gallery is one of Berryville’s premier destinations.
To kick-off the Holiday Season, Barns of Rose Hill, our local Cultural Arts Center, is offering-up a very special sale of 19th, 20th and 21st century artworks. This is a wonderful opportunity for art lovers, art collectors and gift-buyers. A Little Art Sale opens in the Upper Gallery and runs December 1– 24. The opening reception will be on December 3 from 1–2 pm. There are several works from such esteemed and beloved artists as Don Black, Ron Heath, Ed Cooper and Eric Mohn, as well as several other works by noted local and regional artists and a set of four 19th Century etchings by Sydney Robert Jones. Whether it’s a classic 19th Century oil portrait, or beautiful, pastoral landscape, you’re likely to find a treasure at the Little Art Sale.
A few of the featured artists:
Don Black came to art from a long career in music. He is now a tenured Professor Emeritus of music at Shenandoah University. In 1984 he began painting in oils and then began mastering watercolors. He has had major retrospectives and is represented in collections throughout the United States, Canada and across Europe.
Ed Cooper has lived, loved and painted the great outdoors since early childhood. He has won many awards for his plein air oil landscapes and has authored a definitive book on the subject “Painting Landscapes on Toned Surfaces with Alkyds.”
Eric Mohn’s watercolors are filled with the American tradition. From his Amish of Lancaster County scenes to his beautiful renditions of historic homes, his passion for his subject matter shines through.
Also at Barns of Rose Hill, December 3 at 2pm, immediately following the reception for A Little Art Sale, there is a Yuletide dance performance by the Blue Ridge Dance Studio. And in the performance hall at 3 pm, following the dance performance, there will be a Holidays Choral Concert by the Clarke County High School Choirs.
The Little Art Sale Reception as well as the dance performance and choral concerts are all free to the public.
Sunday, December 10 brings us the annual Holiday Homes Tour, presented by Berryville Main Street. Come out to Historic Berryville for a self-guided tour of private homes and Rosemont Manor, all decorated beautifully for the holidays.
All tours begin at the Firehouse Gallery 23 E. Main Street. Homes on the tour are not wheelchair or stroller accessible. No food or drinks will be allowed inside of the homes on the tour. Refreshments are available at the Firehouse Gallery.
Free Parking is available at the municipal lot next to Dollar General or along Main Street, Church Street, and Crow Street, where there are decorated parking meters or on Buckmarsh Street and Crow Street near the historic tour homes. Restrooms available at Firehouse Gallery.
Advance tickets are $15 per person (children 12 & under free when accompanied by adult). Tickets will be on sale the day of the tour for $20 per person at the Firehouse Gallery 23 E. Main Street. For information and to purchase tickets visit berryvillemainstreet.org or call 540.955.4001.
Saturday, December 16 at 6pm, the Barns of Rose Hill presents the Yuletide Feast Holiday Dinner. Tickets are $75 per person. This sumptuous dining experience features extremely limited King’s Style seating. You will be greeted with a cup of Wassail and feted with delicious and kingly delights as the King and Queen preside with pride over a passionate troupe of paid, period performers for your relaxation and entertainment.
Contact barnsofrosehill.org or call 540-955-2004 for
more information.