Larry See

Our seventh annual Christmas Festival of Lights will kick off with the Lighting Ceremony, which will be held this Saturday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. at the amphitheater at Afton and Pauline Malick Central Hampshire Park in Augusta. The Festival will run through Jan. 1 and will be open daily from 5:30 p.m. 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. Kids need to remember to bring an ornament to help decorate the official Christmas Festival of Lights Christmas Tree.

Through the generosity of the Hampshire County Commission, the HCP&R Board, and many businesses and individuals throughout the area, the Festival has exploded over the past six years. We have grown from 24 light displays in 2013 to over 200 displays this year. New features for 2019 include a big reindeer catapult display in the middle of the park and a four-foot extension to our giant Christmas tree in the field above the amphitheater, making it an 18-foot tree this year.

Also, don't forget about our great musical display. When you enter the park, simply tune your car or truck radio to 106.5 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.

Walk To Be Fit

The Walk To Be Fit Program ended on Oct. 31. If you haven’t turned in your final tally sheets yet, please do so in the next few days. We have tallied all the sheets we have received so far, and prizes have been distributed to those who earned them. If you feel that you earned a prize and didn’t receive it, please call us at (304) 822-7300 or email us at and let us know. It is not our intention that anyone who earned a prize should be overlooked.

Thanks to all who participated in Walk To Be Fit this year, and we look forward to counting those miles again starting on April 1, 2020. Just because the program is over for this year doesn’t mean that you have to stop exercising. We still have a few pretty fall days left, so get out and enjoy a peaceful walk before the really cold weather sets in. I know you’ll be glad that you did.

New Conference Center at Hampshire Park

The Hampshire County Parks and Recreation Board awarded the financing bid for the new Conference Center at Hampshire Park to FNB Bank. Kline Construction of Augusta landed the contracting bid, and we are meeting with them this week to draw up plans for completing the interior of the building. The loan process is in motion, and we should be on track to begin construction in the next few weeks. 

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, business meetings, business conferences, family reunions, birthday parties, baby showers, retreats, camps for organizations, anniversary celebrations, craft shows, class reunions, holiday celebrations and picnics.

If you have questions about the project, or if you are interested in contributing to it, call HCP&R at (304) 822-7300, or email us at

Rentals at Old CBMS

Two years ago, HCP&R entered into an agreement with the Hampshire County Board of Education to lease the gym, cafeteria and four classrooms at Old Capon Bridge Middle School. Since then, we have spent considerable time and money on improvements to the facility. Those improvements include new floor tiles in the boys’ dressing room, re-finishing the gymnasium floor, installing new LED lights in the gym and a single switch on the wall to turn them on, installing new floor and ceiling tiles in the cafeteria, painting the cafeteria, purchasing enough tables and chairs to accommodate 164 people in the cafeteria, purchasing new appliances for the home economics room, installing a new door and a keypad lock on the main entrance to the gym, employing a cleaning service to clean the entire facility and installing a surveillance system for both the gym and the cafeteria.

The HCP&R Board has worked hard to make OCBMS a first-class facility, and it is now available for the public to rent. If you would like to reserve the gym for basketball, volleyball, birthday parties or any other indoor activity, it is now available for rent at $25 per hour. If you would like to rent the cafeteria and the home economics room, which has a refrigerator, two stoves, ample counter space, and one sink, those two are available for one price of $35 per hour. The cafeteria is perfect for meetings, reunions, receptions, and community gatherings. All proceeds from rentals will go toward improvements and repairs on the OCBMS facility.

To reserve these facilities, email HCP&R at, or call us at (304) 822-7300. Get your reservation in early so you don’t miss this chance to hold your event in our newly renovated facilities. o

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