Just across the James River lies the small town of Smithfield. The quaint town is the home to the famous Smithfield hams, but come the holiday season, it becomes famous for Christmas in Smithfield.
Christmas in Smithfield started in the 1980s, but faded away the following decade. “We brought it back two years ago,” said Lois Tokarz, marketing and public relations director for the city. The all-volunteer run event is scaling back a little this year by not having a homes tour, but plenty of events will keep people busy.
Festivities begin in November at the Smithfield Farmers Market, which will hold several specialty markets starting at the Bank of Southside Virginia parking lot, 115 Main St. Thanksgiving markets are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 11 and 18 with a small business market Nov. 25 and two Christmas markets on Dec. 2 and 16.
The main event is the annual antique show on Dec. 2-3 at the Smithfield Center, 210 N. Church St. More than 25 sellers from throughout the region will showcase their goods. Also that weekend, on Dec.2, the Deck the Halls with Christmas Greenery workshops show patrons how to make a Christmas centerpiece, swag or wreath. Make reservations for these workshops by calling 757-357-5182.
On Dec. 3, the Smithfield Gourmet Bakery and Café is holding a colonial tea with two seatings from 1-2:30 p.m. and 3-4:30 p.m. To make a prepaid reservation call 757-357-0045. Hang around afterward for the annual lighting of the boats at Smithfield Station at 7 p.m. with a boat decorating contest, the lighting of the boats, and complimentary hot chocolate and treats.
Music featuring local vocalists and bands and a Christmas message by a local minister highlight the annual tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 1 at the Smithfield Times Gazebo, 228 Main St. The Woman’s Club of Smithfield is providing refreshments for this free event.
The popular evening market is from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 8 along Main Street. Tokarz said more than 100 vendors of arts and crafts, food, holiday wares, and handcrafted gift ideas will spread out along the three blocks of downtown.
Of course, no holiday celebration is complete without Santa Claus. He appears at the Christmas Store, 108 Main St. every weekend from Nov. 4 through Dec. 23. But he will also appear at the Kiwanis Santa Breakfast, Dec. 9; the Visions of Sugar Plums: Tea with St. Nick at the Isle of Wight County Museum on Dec. 16; and he will arrive by helicopter Dec. 2 at the 17th Annual Toys for Tots Car, Truck and Motorcycle Show from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Smithfield Auto and Truck Center, 928 S. Church St.
One last event caps the holiday season: The Spirit of Christmas annual Christmas Parade at 10:30 a.m. Dec. 9. The parade is “an old-fashioned, can’t miss community event.”
For more information on these events, call the Smithfield Visitors Center at 757-357-5182.