The 9th annual Christmas Festival of Lights will kick off with the lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. this Saturday, Nov. 27, at the amphitheater at Afton and Pauline Malick Central Hampshire Park in Augusta. 

The festival will run through Jan. 1, open daily from 5:30 until 10 p.m. 

We will serve coffee, hot chocolate, and cookies free of charge to all who attend the lighting ceremony, and Santa will be there to greet the kids of all ages. 

And you kids need to remember to bring an ornament to help decorate the official festival of lights Christmas tree. The highlight of the lighting ceremony will come at 5:30 when we light the giant Christmas tree in the field above the amphitheater. 

Through the generosity of the Hampshire County Commission, the Parks and Recreation Board, and many businesses and individuals throughout the area, the festival has exploded over the past 8 years. 

We have grown from 24 light displays in 2013 to 230 displays this year. New features for 2021 include a huge Santa train display in the center of the park and an animated “Merry Christmas” greeting sign over the entrance.

Also, don’t forget about our great musical display. When you enter the park, simply tune your car or truck radio to 106.5 FM and then watch our musical display flash to the beat of some of your favorite Christmas tunes, which will be playing through your radio. 

And the best part is that you can enjoy the lights from the warmth and comfort of your own vehicle free of charge. Mark your calendars right now so you don’t miss this special Christmas tradition.


Hampshire Mat Club

Registrations are still being accepted for the Hampshire Mat Club, a youth wrestling organization supported by Hampshire County Parks and Recreation for boys and girls ages 4 through 15. 

The club teaches folkstyle wrestling, which is the same format used in high school and college wrestling. Wrestlers will be classified by both age and weight for competition. The Mat Club practices 3 nights per week until the matches begin and twice per week thereafter. 

The club will once again compete in the Mason Dixon League, which features teams from the surrounding West Virginia and Virginia area, and tournaments in that league will be held on weekends during December, January and February. The club will also attend other tourneys around the area, including state competitions. 

Registration fee for the Hampshire Mat Club is $25. To register, log on to our website,, and fill out and then send the program registration form, which is located at the bottom of the home page. 

The registration fee may then be mailed to HCP&R at P.O. Box 213, Romney, WV 26757. You may also register in person at the Parks and Rec Office at 90 N.High St. in Romney any weekday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Registrations will also be accepted at the 1st practice, which will be held at 6 p.m. next Monday, Nov. 29, at the Romney Elementary School gym.


New conference center 

The Fire Marshall inspected the Conference Center at Hampshire Park last week, and we still have some minor issues to clear up. We are hoping to have him back for a final inspection the first of next week. After his approval, the building will get a general cleaning, and then we should be ready for the grand opening.

When completed, the 6,600-square-foot conference center will be heated and air conditioned for year-round use and will be available for a variety of functions, including 4-H camp, weddings, wedding receptions, baby showers, business meetings, business conferences, family reunions, birthday parties, retreats, camps for organizations, anniversary celebrations, craft shows, class reunions and picnics.

If you have questions about the project, or if you are interested in contributing to it, call Parks and Rec at 304-822-7300, or email us at


Youth basketball Hampshire County Parks and Recreation will sponsor 2 youth basketball leagues for the coming winter — Biddy Buddy for all boys and girls in grades 2, 3 and 4, and the Intermediate Basketball League for all boys and girls in grades 5 through 8.

Team practices will begin the week of Nov. 29, and each team will have 2 practices before the 1st game. Practices and games will alternate between Romney and Capon Bridge, with teams practicing at the location of that week’s games. The 1st games will be played on Sunday, Dec. 12, at the RMS and HHS gyms. 

If you’re still interested in joining one of our leagues and didn’t make it to the team selection last Sunday, contact the parks and rec office in person at 90 N. High St. in Romney any weekday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., call us at 304-822-7300, or email us at as quickly as possible so you can be placed on a team. o

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