Hundreds of visitors traveled to Wilderness Road State Park on December 4th and 5th to witness Christmas Past and Present, a unique look at our most popular holiday. Young children visited withSantaand Ms. Claus early in the day and, along with their parents, were encouraged to travel back in time to see how Christmas was celebrated along the 18th century Virginia frontier.
During their visit with Santa, children were given the opportunity to express all their Christmas wishes to the jolly-ol’-elf and enjoy light refreshments that included Kool-Aid, hot chocolate and cookies. Each child also received a free gift, with Ms.Claus assisting them with picking a toy fromSanta’s sack. They could choose from three different plush bears featuring Santa’s signature red hat, a plush reindeer based off of Rudolph and a stocking filled with toys such as a jump-rope, a yo yo and more. The cookies were donated by CashExpress, of Middlesboro Kentucky, with the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park also contributing cookies, the hot chocolate, the KoolAid and the gifts.
Christmas on the Frontier enjoyed a large crowd with many joining in the singing of Christmas carols while enjoying ginger snaps and apple cider. Christmas was celebrated quite differently in the 18th century. There was no Christmas tree and decorations were limited to evergreen bowels, popcorn strings, candles and cloved oranges.
On the Virginia frontier atMartin’s Station, the settlers would have celebrated the yule season, with a huge log placed on the fire. The festivities would last until the log burned out, or until early January, thus leading to the 12 days of Christmas. Warm fires beckoned many of the visitors with music presented by Lisa Deeds on fife and Tracy Rawlings, strumming an 18th style stringed instrument.
With the success of the combined event, the park will begin making plans for yet another Christmas: Past and Present!