Centered around historic downtown Fayetteville, the festival will once again feature an array of live music, lots of great food, shops, activities and a lot of Christmas spirit.
“Without our sponsors and all the volunteers, the festival would not be what it is today,” said Carolyn Denton, director of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce. “It grows every year, and we’re so excited that the whole community embraces it and wants to get involved in it.”
Those planning to attend the festival are encouraged to visit the website, www.hostofchristmaspast.com to download a brochure to plan their weekend. Brochures may also be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce or Fayetteville Main Street offices. The brochures include maps showing activities in each of several zones around town.
“Downtown is the hub of the festival, but it is so large that it stretches out the Huntsville Highway and the Winchester Highway this year,” Denton said. “The trolley will be here taking people from one location to another.”
Denton is a member of the oversight committee which also includes Carol Foster, Kristi Gentry and Donna Gill. The festival would not be possible, organizers say, without the help of volunteers and the support of all the sponsors.
“We appreciate these folks more than we can say,” Denton said. “There are a lot of folks who help us directly with the festival and, of course, our supporters who help us every year. We have sponsors who are always returning and are glad to help. They see the importance of this festival to our community, not only what it does to our tax base, but just bringing folks in. People have been known to relocate here after coming to this festival.”
“It’s just a wonderful event for not just downtown Fayetteville but all of Fayetteville-Lincoln County,” added Foster, who also serves as director of Fayetteville Main Street. “We’ve had people say they’ve come to Host of Christmas Past and loved the town, and they live here now. People come to Host and end up coming back and bringing other people, so it’s a trickle effect. There are a lot of locals who won’t come downtown that much, and this brings them downtown, and they realize how much we have and they come back.”
Since this is the 24th year for the festival, another generation of children is now enjoying this annual event – “A lot of the things that take place during the weekend are family traditions. As children get older or the next generation comes along, parents are getting to share this with their children or grandchildren now that we’re in the 24th year,” said Denton.
Friday night (Nov. 11)
The festival kicks off with the annual Elgan Brooks Memorial Christmas Tree Lighting at 5 p.m. on the courthouse lawn. The Lincoln County High School chorus will present carols during the event.
Friday night’s festivities continue with “Sanders Family Christmas”, presented by Carriage House Players at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum auditorium, at 7 p.m. Additional performances are on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Cost is $12 for adults, $8 for students. Visit www.CarriageHousePlayers.com for additional information.
Also on Friday, there will be a signing and tasting at The Book Inn from 5:30 until 8 p.m., featuring author Christy Jordan who will be signing her latest cookbook, “Sweetness”. Samples will be provided.
“Party Hair and Christmas Ornaments” will take place at Paige 2 from 5 until 8 p.m. on Friday. Party hair with tiaras or ornament painting is $3 each, with proceeds benefiting Clothe Our Kids.
Saturday (Nov. 12)
Saturday’s events begin with the 5th Annual Kiwanis Reindeer Run beginning at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Public Library. The 5K registration begins at 6:30 a.m., with the race at 8 a.m. Run through historic downtown Fayetteville decorated for the holiday season. Runners can pre-register at runlincolncounty.com.
Musical performances will take place all day Saturday on the courthouse lawn bandstand. The schedule is as follows: 8:45 a.m., Jean Worley with the National Anthem; 9 a.m., Cumberland Presbyterian Children’s Choir; 9:30 a.m., Simply Fabulous and Lance Carter, Mary Did You Know; 10 a.m., Stillwater; 12 p.m., Sunny Langford and Chris Rudd; 12:30 p.m., Flat Creek Dancers; 1 p.m., 4 Miles Gone with Jacob Painter; 2 p.m., Madison Community Band; 3 p.m., Eric Worley; 3:30 p.m., Ron Hackett and Greg Mitchell; 4 p.m., Bill Williams Family.
A street dance featuring Four on the Floor will be held from 6 until 9 p.m.
Other activities in the festival’s downtown zone are storytelling with Jerry Mansfield at 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the Lincoln County Courthouse, as well as a visit with Abraham Lincoln at 10:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., also at the courthouse.
The Tacky Christmas Sweater Contest will be held at the bandstand at 4:30 p.m. Registration and details will be available at the information booth. The winner receives Tackiest Sweater Bragging Rights, $50 cash prize, plus a festival t-shirt, while second place earns $25, plus a festival mug.
A Handbell Concert featuring the Cumberland Presbyterian Church Faith Ringers will be held at 3 p.m.
Let the Elves paint your nails at Elves Nails & Glitter Tattoos, located at Salon 201, from 9 until 11 a.m. Donations benefit the Humane Society. Party Hair & Christmas Ornaments at Paige 2 will be held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with proceeds benefiting Clothe Our Kids.
A book signing will be held at The Book Inn from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. for Maxnificent! The Polka Dot Pyrenees. Author Dianne Burch will sign, and Max will offer his paw print.
Movies at the Lincoln Theatre are $1 per person with showtimes at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
The downtown area also offers Art Signing by Teresa Hall at the Ivy Wreath from 1 until 3 p.m., as well as photos with Santa Claus at Access Realty from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. with Professional Photos by Paula. Packages are available, and children are welcome to visit Santa and tell him what they want for Christmas.
High Tea – Lace, Linens & Luxury will be held at First Baptist Church with seating at 12 p.m. Tickets are $20 and are available for advance purchase only. Call 433-7006 for information.
Guests can visit the Man Cave to watch football at Sir’s Fabrics from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.
A Saturday evening concert at First United Methodist Church at 4:30 p.m. features the Maple Hill Celtic Band. A traditional turkey dinner will be served at First United Methodist Church with seatings at 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at the church office or at the door.
There will be plenty of activities for children in the Kids Village area. It’s a guaranteed snow fall on Saturday, Nov. 12, and kids are invited to bring their gloves and play in the snow. Cost is $1. There will also be other activities, including Fun Bounce from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at $2 per ticket, or kids can get an all-day armband for $10 for inflatables. There will also be face painting and children’s karaoke, the cow train from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at $3 per ride and horse-drawn carriage rides from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at a cost of $5 for adults, $4 for children, with proceeds benefiting the Humane Society.
Everybody’s favorite penguin, Snowbird from WSMV, will be on hand from 1 until 3 p.m. to visit with children.
Baklava & Used Books will be held at St. Mary Magdalene Episcopal Church beginning at 10 a.m., and the always-popular Polar Express Party will be held at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Public Library from 11 a.m. until 12 p.m. Drink hot chocolate, play games and make crafts. The Elves’ Workshop will be held at the library from 12 until 2 p.m. Free crafts and refreshments are available for children 12 and under.
An Art Exhibit & Sale will be held at the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. Local artists will be exhibiting and selling artwork. There will be performing artists on stage.
In the Mulberry Avenue Zone, the Flat Creek Dancers will perform at First Presbyterian Church at 4:15 p.m. Dancers in traditional Dickens style costumes will entertain the crowd. Ten Thousand Villages at First Presbyterian Church Family Life Center will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. View the crafts of artisans from around the world. Proceeds benefit artisans from more than 30 countries.
The Candlelight Walking Tour begins at First Presbyterian Church at 5 p.m. and continues through 8 p.m. Stroll along historic candlelit streets and hear music by the Madison Community Band. The Cemetery Stroll at First Presbyterian Church Cemetery will be held from 5 until 8 p.m. See history come alive in Fayetteville’s first cemetery.
Santa’s Warrior Gift Shop will be held at the Fayetteville Recreation Center on Winchester Highway from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Proceeds benefit the Lincoln County Warrior Project.
In the Museum Zone, there will be tours of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Museum from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Andrew Bearden’s antique gun display will be available for viewing at the museum from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Winter Wonderland will return to the Museum from 10 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. “Sanders Family Christmas”, presented by Carriage House Players, will be staged at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
The Elk Valley Crafters hold their annual Christmas craft show at Lincoln County High School, part of the Huntsville Highway Zone of activities. The show will be held from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. A Craft Show & Business Expo at Riverside Christian Academy will be held from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Sunday (Nov. 13)
Sunday’s activities include the annual Alpha Kappa Home Tours from 1 until 5 p.m. Advance tickets are $15 and are available by calling 931-808-2695. Tickets can also be purchased that day at any of the homes for $20.
The Elk Valley Crafters show also continues at LCHS Sunday afternoon from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.
For those interested in volunteering to help during the festival, it’s not too late to become involved. Contact Fayetteville Main Street at 433-7006 or the Chamber of Commerce at 433-1234. To volunteer at the information booth, call the Chamber of Commerce.
Residents attending the festival are reminded to be respectful of business-owned parking lots where they are open for business, and organizers urge festival goers to use public parking if at all possible.