Live Like a Local: Out-of-the-Ordinary Festivities in Waynesboro

Unique gifts, like this playful card by Elisabeth Fitzhugh, can be found at SVAC's Holiday Market. Photo courtesy of the SVAC Facebook page.

If you see one more showing of A Christmas Story, you’ll scream. What you’re ready for is a unique spin on the holiday season, fresh experiences that flavor the season with something other than cloves. Look no further than Waynesboro, Virginia, where out-of-the-ordinary holiday festivities come as naturally as the mountain vistas out our back door.

A student works on hammering a piece of steel at the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing. Photo by norm Shafer.

Make Your Own Sleigh Bell

Waynesboro is home to the Virginia Institute of Blacksmithing, which is the only Artistic Blacksmithing school certified to operate by the State Council of Higher Education of Virginia. It caters to professionals and hobbyists alike, with classes that range from spears to spoons. On December 16-17, you can ring in the season (literally) by forging and hammering your own bells. Musical Metal Bells is a two-day class, but no prior experience is needed.

Anyone that knows me well knows how fascinated I am with making cool distressed wooden signs. Well I had a chance to hangout with 2 of my daughters nurturing their creativity while making some cool wood holiday signs at this AMAZING new downtown Waynesboro studio. My new friends and shop owners, Randy and Allison were absolute stars as they ensured little Jamie and Taylor learned and implemented their own custom designs. 🌟If you’re anywhere near Waynesboro, VA and want to create some long lasting memories, be sure to look up Nail’d It Workshop DIY Studio. 👍Here are just a few clips of our time there in support of Small Business Saturday. Priceless experience! Thanks, Nail'd It Workshop!Enjoy!WillPS Hope your weekend was a special one as well wherever this finds you!

Posted by Will Irish on Sunday, November 26, 2017

While your creative juices are flowing, check out Waynesboro’s trendy DIY craft shop, Nail’d It, which offers classes and open studio hours to paint your own festive Christmas sign.

Get a lovely handcrafted centerpiece or wreath at Long Meadow Tree Farm. Photo courtesy of the LMTF Facebook page.

Pick and Cut a Shenandoah Valley Christmas Tree

Tucked among the rolling hills outside of Waynesboro, Long Meadow Tree Farm has been selling Christmas trees since 1981. Family-owned and operated, the farm grows White and Scotch pine, Douglas and Concolor fir, and Norway and Blue spruce, as well as trucking in pre-cut Virginia grown Fraser firs. You’ll also find homemade apple butter, fresh wreaths, and evergreen centerpieces.

Burn Your Thighs

The Basic City Burn (Dec 2, 10:00 AM) climbs 300 feet from Waynesboro’s newest brewery to Waynesboro’s newest park, offering racers a spectacular 360-degree view of the Shenandoah Valley before leading them through a wooded trail back to the brewery. Cap off the race by tasting Basic City Beer Co.’s one-of-a-kind beers, like the Waynesbeeroh lager.

The Christmas Home Tour showcases some of Waynesboro’s most attractive and historic houses. Photo by Nancy Floyd.

Sneak Inside Historic Homes

Well, you won’t have to sneak exactly. But you’ll feel like a spy when you peer inside the halls and living rooms of some of Waynesboro’s finest homes. How do they decorate for the season? Find out at the Christmas Home Tour (Dec. 2, 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM). Get ideas for your own holiday decorations or merely ogle theirs; either way, the proceeds go to benefit the Wayne Theatre Alliance, a non-profit seeking to enrich the community through performing arts.

Sparkling lights make for an enchanting Christmas Parade. Unique gifts, like this playful card by Elisabeth Fitzhugh, can be found at SVAC’s Holiday Market. Photo courtesy of Waynesboro Parks & Recreation.

Catch a Small-Town Parade—at Night!

For many locals, the annual Waynesboro Christmas Parade (Dec 2, 6:00 PM) is an essential part of the holiday season. BYO camp chair and blanket and join the throngs of residents lined up along the downtown sidewalks to cheer for the entertaining displays and bands. Lit parade floats and glowing necklaces add to the magical nighttime ambience. You can also donate a new toy to the Toys for Tots float as it passes by!

Glut Yourself on Cookies and Craft Beer

On December 16 from 2-4:00 PM, Stable Craft Brewery is hosting a Christmas Cookie Decorating event that coincidentally overlaps with the release of their Chocolate Cherry Stout. Not to mention, you can sit by the fire pit and drink in the incredible views of the Shenandoah Valley. This might have to become a new family tradition!

Wilson Fairchild brings a country flair to Christmas. Photo courtesy of the Wayne Theatre Facebook page.

Enjoy Country Music Where It’s Made

Local duo Wil and Langdon Reid will have your boots tapping in Wilson Fairchild Christmas (Dec 9, 8:00 PM) at Waynesboro’s historic Wayne Theatre. These second-generation country musicians (their fathers were two of the Statler Brothers) have been singing and songwriting together for over 15 years. The authentic flavor of the Shenandoah Valley flows through their music and their lively performances, meaning this will not be your run-of-the-mill Christmas concert.

Bring That Shopping List

Don’t buy Aunt Ruth a garlic press! What she really wants is a cool personalized gift from Initial Inspiration, a Waynesboro boutique that sells monogrammed clothing, handbags, and jewelry. Just down the street, Twice As Nice, a wildly popular upscale consignment store, has treasures you never knew you needed. . . I mean, that Aunt Ruth never knew she needed.

The holiday season is never hum-drum when you discover all the out of the ordinary festivities that Waynesboro has to offer!

Author: Liza Peltola

Liza Peltola grew up in Waynesboro, VA, and after living overseas and on the west coast, returned to the Shenandoah Valley, where rolling farmland and Blue Ridge Mountains foster a thriving arts and agriculture scene.