If you come to Centertown Bedford on Friday nights in December, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, you will not be surprised why Bedford has been deemed the Christmas capital of Virginia. December 5th, 12th, and 19th, Centertown business stay open past their senior citizen bedtime (between 3:00 PM and 5:00,) to welcome visitors. There is also a lot of hustle and bustle of activities surrounding these businesses.
This year, there is a contest going on, called “A Wii Little Christmas.” Each person over the age of eighteen (or their parents, if they are younger,) can obtain a map from the kiosk in Centertown square, or from a participating merchant around town. The object of the contest is to go to each of the twenty-five participating businesses, and get a stamp from each one. Once one has completed the map, they can turn it into the kiosk, or one of the participating businesses. On December 19th, at 8:00 PM, there will be a drawing at Centertown square, to announce the winner. The winner receives a new Nintendo Wii, hence the name of the contest.This whole contest is really a genius collaboration on behalf of the business, to bring in new customers.
While in the stores, collecting stamps for the contest, some have special activities or treats. Several stores that my husband and I went to, had mulled cider, hot chocolate, and candy, free to customers. My favorite store, The Well, had a table where you could enter to win a drawing for a $75 gift certificate for their store. I am crossing my fingers that I win that one! My favorite activity was at Ginger Bell’s House of Mini Shops. Their window display was a live one, with Santa sitting on his seat, for kids to come take pictures with him. The really amusing part was the Elvis impersonator in the window, singing Christmas songs… I kid you not. There was a speaker outside, for all to hear his music. I was tickled pink to see this.
Another highlight of the Christmas atmosphere, are the horse-drawn carriage rides. Each person who wants to take a ride on one one these, can obtain a ticket from the kiosk in Centertown square, for $2.00 a person. To go and wait for one’s ride, one walks down to Farmer’s Market, and waits in line. While there’s the wait, each person can enjoy cider from a local orchard. Once on the carriage, the ride lasts for about ten minutes, and it goes around, and through the middle of town. Mine and my husband’s carriage driver was quite humorous, and it was also funny to see the horses break for red lights. I enjoyed the ride very much.
In the midst of it all, I took in all the beauty of the decorations. Most of the businesses, aside from Ranch Road BBQ, which never has any window decorations, had semi-extravagant, to very extravagant window displays. In the hustle and bustle of scrambling to get our stamps for the Wii contest, I had to stop and take pictures of a bunch the storefront windows. My absolute favorite was at The Gilded Era, my favorite antique store in downtown.
This Christmas atmosphere is one not to be missed. I can’t wait to go back next week, for the drawing, yes, but also to see more holiday fun. I will be going back, also, for years to come.
+To see all the pictures I took at the event, please view my slideshow here.+