BLUEFIELD — The City of Bluefield is now the state’s “Christmas City.”
City Attorney Colin Cline gave the news to the City Board Tuesday during its regular meeting.
“We are officially West Virginia’s ‘Christmas City,’” he said, adding that the city now has the state and federal trademark for the designation.
The idea surfaced last year with the popular Holiday of Lights the anchor, a drive-through display at City Park that is the largest lights display in the region, attracting thousands of visitors each holiday season to its 40 acres of more than 2 million lights.
Savannah Carabin, marketing coordinator the city’s Department of Community and Economic Development, said at the time the designation is an “expansion of marketing efforts for the Bluefield Holiday of Lights.”
That expansion also included a new website, westvirginiaschristmascity.com.
Carabin said the Holiday of Lights has been featured on www.onlyinyourstate.com twice in “Bluefield Holiday Of Lights Is The Best Free Drive-Thru Event Of The Year In West Virginia” and “6 Drive-Thru Christmas Lights Displays In West Virginia The Whole Family Can Enjoy.”
“In addition, the Bluefield Holiday of Lights was also named to ’10 West Virginia Towns That Feel Like You’re In A Hallmark Christmas Movie’ by www.travelawaits.com,’” she said.
The city also last year added an attraction to the downtown area on Princeton Avenue: a 40-ft. Christmas tree, which plays music coordinated with the changing light displays on the tree.
Marson said the goal is to attract more people to downtown, especially those visiting the Holiday of Lights, and activities will be enhanced this year.
“This is a big deal and we are rising to the occasion,” he said. “We are working really hard to bring everybody downtown.”
More lights will be installed downtown and the first Hometown Christmas Week will be held from Dec. 11 to Dec. 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. each night with themed events, which will take place in Chicory Square.
Face painting, crafts, contest, Santa, and trolley will be in the green space around the tree and Christmas market. Pictures with Santa will take place each evening in the tree area, along with the Grinch.
Vendors will also be set up.
During Tuesday’s meeting, the board approved waiving any city fees for those vendors, following an exemption already in place when vendors participate in a festival downtown.
All of this combines to put Bluefield on the map of places to go during the holiday season, with the Holiday of Lights opening on Thanksgiving Day night, Nov. 25.
“The public works team is working now at City Park for the Holiday of Lights,” Marson said of the massive project to set up all the displays, with new ones added every year. “The team is going all out to have a wonderful city.”
The display and the enhancements downtown are “going to be phenomenal,” he said. “I am excited about it.”
— Contact Charles Boothe at firstname.lastname@example.org