“This time of year, people get an extra bounce in their step, knowing Christmas is ‘just ‘round the corner’,” stated Mike Brindle, the park’s concession manager. “We were able to contact Santa Claus at the North Pole and he has agreed to take time from his busy schedule to make a special visit to the park. Although his stay will be short, he wanted to give the local children a chance to meet him and allow them to tell him first-hand what they would like for Christmas.”
Children ages 10 and under are welcome to visit Santa from 3 pm to 5 pm, Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5 in the park’s Visitor Center. Each child will have the opportunity to meet Santa Claus and friends for a magical evening as he prepares for his Christmas journey ’round the World. They can have their picture taken with the jolly-old-elf, receive a small gift and enjoy light refreshments such as cookies and hot chocolate, provided by the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park. “Santa will be bringing his wife and maybe an elf or two to help him out,” explained Brindle. “He is really looking forward to meeting all the local children and the park is especially excited to have him visiting us!”
Children are encouraged to write a letter to Santa and drop it off at the park so that Santa can take it back with him to the North Pole. The letters can be dropped off now until December 5, each day, from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm.
In lieu of their annual Christmas at Karlan, the Friends of Wilderness Road State Park will host their “open house” in conjunction with the Santa in the Wilderness program. The open house provides the public with an opportunity to enjoy light refreshments and listen to holiday music while viewing Christmas trees decorated with hand-made ornaments from the local elementary schools.
The Powder Horn Gift Shop will be conducting their annual Christmas sale, with 10 percent off of everything in the store, and for the first time, will feature a small Christmas Shop adorned with holiday gifts and ornaments. Local handmade Christmas crafts will also be available for purchase.
Christmas on the Frontier has become an annual event for the park, with visitors transported back to 1775 as the men and women of Martin’s Station celebrate the yuletide season. Martin’s Station will conduct the program from 5 pm to 7 pm with visitors able to enjoy holiday music 18th century style, Caroling and refreshments such as ginger snaps and cider.
During the third quarter of the 18th century Virginia’s frontier was comprised of a unique mixture of cultures from around the world. Immigrants from countries such as England, Scotland, Ireland, and Germany just to name a few were beginning to embark on our nation’s first westward migration and many found themselves traveling the Wilderness Road in search of a new life. As a result of this migration small frontier settlements soon became hubs for the many different social customs and traditions including religious beliefs.
Christmas in colonial America was very different than Christmas of today. Many colonists especially those with Puritan, Presbyterian, and Quaker beliefs thought of Christmas as a pagan celebration. Some New England colonies passed laws banning the celebration of Christmas and anyone found in violation was given a substantial fine. Unlike their northern neighbors, many settlers in the mid Atlantic colonies celebrated Christmas just as they had in England. Colonies with Anglican populations celebrated the Nativity during Advent, a penitential season in the church’s calendar. The festive season began on December 25th and lasted until January 6th or what was commonly called the twelve days of Christmas. During this time a traditional Yule log was burned and wealthy families would invite the less fortunate to their homes to attend Christmas gatherings.