Christmas festivities will return to Timberville’s American Legion Park in December.
The town is planning its own holiday celebration following a decision to move the Timberville Christmas Village from the park to Showalter’s Orchard.
For one day in December, the stables at American Legion Park will welcome back arts and crafts vendors as the town hosts an event called the Timberville Winter Fest on Dec. 4.
Cecilia Valdez, the town’s administrative assistant, said the event will offer 20 vendors the chance to sell products, and the Timberville Volunteer Fire Department will host a fundraiser.
“It’s just a community event,” she said.
Planning for the Timberville Winter Fest began when CART, a volunteer-based nonprofit, decided to move the Timberville Christmas Village out of town limits.
“With the Timberville Christmas Village moving out of town, we wanted something to do as well,” Valdez said. “That was such a big hit, so we wanted to continue it here. It’s separate, but we wanted to continue something similar.”
The Timberville Christmas Village started in 2018 as a place to gather and recognize the small town’s tourism potential. The Christmas Village is organized by Shea Alexander and Town Council members Ned Overton and Natalie Sherlock.
During an interview with the DN-R in July, Sherlock said the nonprofit decided to move the Christmas Village to Showalter’s Orchard because the renovated stables at American Legion Park were not up to code and safety standards, adding that it was “more of a compliance issue.”
However, on Friday, Sherlock said that was not accurate.
“It was just a miscommunication,” Sherlock said.
When CART decided to move the Christmas Village to Showalter’s Orchard, Sherlock was under the impression that exit signs needed to be installed in each stable to meet code and safety standards following an inspection, she said.
“What we had been told was incorrect,” she said. “I guess [the inspectors] didn’t realize how we were going to set it up, and the way we set it up was fine. Unfortunately, that didn’t get all the way around to us for us to understand that because we thought it was going to be a significant expense to install exit signs in every door.”
Sherlock said she was not present during the inspection, but other CART members were. The team later learned exit signs were not needed in the stables after the relocation of the Christmas Village was announced.
Efforts to reach the Timberville Volunteer Fire Department or a Rockingham County fire marshal were unsuccessful Tuesday.
Town Manager Austin Garber confirmed to the DN-R there were no compliance issues at the American Legion Park stables that would have prevented the Christmas Village from being hosted there.
When news of the Christmas Village’s relocation reached Town Council, several members voiced their disappointment on the decision.
During an August Town Council meeting, council member Sharon Jones said several town employees spent “numerous hours helping with this endeavor and the maintenance department went above and beyond for this project, and then it was decided to be relocated and no one in town had been informed of this decision.”
On Friday, Jones said she did not have anything further to say on the matter of the Christmas Village relocating, but said she does not consider it to be a town event because it will be held at Showalter’s Orchard.
Jones did say she was “100% for Winter Fest,” adding that it will be beneficial to town residents and visitors.
“I think it will be wonderful,” she said.
The Timberville Winter Fest will go from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Dec. 4, and conclude with the annual Christmas tree lighting.
Valdez said Santa Claus will be present to take pictures with children. Vendor spots are still available and can be reserved by calling the town office at 540-896-7058.
Whether the Christmas Village returns to Timberville in 2022 has not been determined.
“That is always a possibility, unless the town wants to expand their own village,” Sherlock said. “I think they would have precedence over us, but I think it would be awesome to get back to the stables and if not, I hope the town of Timberville continues with their festival.”