One of my favorite photos was taken during a Christmas parade at Fair Grove. It features me, Aunt Dazel and Mom. We were standing on Hood’s Store porch (on Main Street), waiting for the parade to pass by. I don’t remember what year, but it probably took place in the early 1980s. Accompanying this column is that photo and one of the Wommack Mill.
The mill photo was used in a past calendar, with the caption saying, “About twenty-five years ago, Jerry Thomas created a large wreath on an old iron wheel to decorate Fair Grove’s mill. Since then the mill has opened its doors for thousands of visitors to the Annual Ice Cream Social in mid-July, the Fair Grove Heritage Reunion on the last full weekend of September, and a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in December, featuring the Fair Grove Elementary Schools’ ‘Singing Eagles.’ Since the creation of the Fair Grove Historical and Preservation Society in 1977, its members have offered wonderful experiences to the local community, as well as others who have visited the town.”
This year’s Fair Grove Annual Holiday Open House and Christmas Tree Lighting celebration will take place Saturday, Dec. 1.Beginning at 7 a.m. and wrapping up at 10 a.m. will be breakfast and photos with Santa. Come to Hilltop Pizza and Grill to enjoy breakfast with Santa. Proceeds from the breakfast benefit Heart2Heart holiday food baskets for local families. Don’t forget your cameras. Santa will be ready for photos with the young and young-at-heart!
All day is “Shop Local for Christmas!” Visit area merchants and pick up gifts for those special people on your shopping list. In-store specials, samples and refreshments at many local retailers are available.
At 5 p.m. join your friends and neighbors while watching the annual parade. A $100 prize for the best parade entry will be given. “And is that Santa in the parade?” we will be wondering.
At 6 p.m. the Christmas tree lighting at the historical Wommack Mill will take place. The Singing Eagles and High School Choir will perform. Fair Grove Historical and Preservation Society and Family, Career and Community Leaders of America will have warm cookies and cocoa to keep you warm following the entertainment.
Stick around after the lighting for Fair Grove High School’s Run Run Rudolph 5K Fun Run and don’t miss the lights in the Fair Grove District Park.
Dan Manning said, “I believe decoration of the tree and mill for Christmas began around 2000. Very, very few folks attended the first few celebrations other than the ones of us who put them together. We had a count-down before lighting up the mill and the tree, ate cookies made by the ladies, drank hot chocolate, and went home with Christmas cheer in our hearts. I remember going on several tree hunts those mornings. If I didn’t go, the tree brought back to the mill rarely impressed me. So, then I’d make sure to go the next year while being razzed by the other tree hunters as a perfectionist. For several years the Lemons (Ron and Beverly) offered a cedar tree from their property northwest of Fair Grove. A couple of years ago, I went with a couple of other tree hunters. We couldn’t find many to choose from because the Lemon property had been dozed-off that summer. We came back with a scraggly one that wasn’t much to celebrate about. It was a tree, but that’s about all it was. I’m thinking a Charlie Brown example. Beverly Lemon donated a beautiful blue spruce out of her yard last year. There’s no telling what kind of tree will represent Christmas at the mill this December, but I know that all of our hearts will swell with pride every time we pass it on Fair Grove’s Main Street.”
Several years, the crew that showed up early on those cold Saturday mornings stayed for roasted wieners and desserts. In more recent years, Leon and Kay Beaty invited the volunteers to their house for soup and desserts. A good time was had by all.
Be sure to mark your calendar. You won’t want to miss all the fun.