With the county barreling toward Thanksgiving, the Christmas season will be here in no time, and the eastern side of the county’s “Holly Jolly Hampshire Christmas” is shaping up to help Hampshire celebrate safely and in style.

Romney is working to put together Winterfest, and Tina Ladd of Augusta explained that while the Romney-based Winterfest looks to be beautiful, the eastern side of the county wanted to contribute to countywide festivities as well.

“Not everyone can make it to Romney for the festivities, so we’re taking the festivities out into the county,” Ladd explained. “We’re hoping to provide a sense of community, a few fun activities for everyone in the county.”

This “sister project” to Winterfest is being dubbed “A Holly, Jolly Hampshire Christmas.” The project includes 3 main components — an outdoor decoration contest, an elf hunt and giant greeting cards sponsored by the Hampshire County Arts Council.

For the decorating contest (sponsored by Brushy Ridge Farm Stand and The River House), the folks of Hampshire County are encouraged to pull out all the stops to deck their halls for Christmas.

For those participating in the contest, photos of their decorated residences will be posted on social media, and the community will be voting on the best decorations. The 1st-, 2nd- and 3rd-place winners in both residential and business categories will receive a certificate and bragging rights.

To enter the contest, participants can send up to 4 photos to deckthehallshampshire@gmail.com no later than Dec. 12. The contest is exterior decorations only, and the winners will be announced on social media on Dec. 20.

“Many county residents always decorate for the holiday season, but hopefully more will do so this year,” Ladd said. “It’s nice when you’re driving to work in the dark, whether it’s early in the morning or later in the evening, to see the decorations.”

In addition to decking the halls, the eastern side of Hampshire County is hosting an elf hunt as well. Twenty-one elves will be hidden in businesses around Capon Bridge, Augusta and Slanesville, and interested folks can pick up a “Great Elf Hunt” card at most of the businesses around the east side of the county (The River House, Brushy Ridge Farm Stand, the Capon Bridge Public Library, the Slanesville General Store, etc.) and start their hunt.

The businesses listed on the card will stamp the card when an elf hunter proves they’ve found the elf, and hunters who have found 10 elves can submit a photo of the card to hampshireelves@gmail.com by Dec. 21. The submitted cards will all be entered into a drawing for a basket of “holiday delights.”

“If you’re stopping by a local participating business, look for the elf while you’re there,” Ladd encouraged. “It would be nice to expand the elf hunt to all communities in the county, but we’re short on time this year.”

The Hampshire County Arts Council will be sponsoring several “giant” greeting cards around the county this season as well to help spread Christmas cheer. There will be 1 each in Capon Bridge, Augusta, Slanesville and Romney.

To follow along with information related to the Holly, Jolly Hampshire Christmas project, find “Holly Jolly Hampshire Elf” on Facebook.

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