Candles And Carols, Lights And Smiles Highlighted The 1st Annual Grand Illumination In Cape Charles, Virginia

by: Marlene email

Follow The Luminaries To Find The Gazebo

Newly dedicated this past September,   the Cape Charles, Virginia  Central Park was the site of  the  1st Annual Grand Illumination scheduled for  6:30 Saturday evening,  December 4th.  My granddaughter and I arrived  early after having had a nice afternoon on the Victorian Stroll,  touring three lovely Cape Charles Victorian B&B  historic homes.  ( If you are thinking about buying a Victorian home on the Eastern Shore of Virginia,  check out our website, . )  Volunteers,  like busy elves, were lighting the hundreds of  luminaries that had been placed on each side of the  Park’s long curved walkways and around the perimeters of the fountain, welcome  points of light gleaming in the falling darkness.   About 6:15  people started to arrive,  eager to participate in this very first Illumination event for the Park, young,  old,  teenagers,  toddlers,  everybody wearing  a smile,  ready with cheery  holiday hello,  heading over to the Gazebo,   following the curving path outlined by glowing  luminaries.

Chris Bannon, Master of Ceremonies, With The Choir

Chris Bannon  ( of  Seagate B&B,  part of the earlier Victorian Stroll ),  dressed in a bright red Santa jacket and hat,  acted as Master of Ceremonies.  Once everybody had gathered round the huge Park gazebo,  organizers passed out candles and a  choir sang a selection of carols,  audience joining in.  It was a pretty chilly night by  Eastern Shore Virginia standards and I hadn’t brought a coat,  just a blazer and scarf,  having not properly accounted for the strong breeze factor.  So  by the time everyone was singing  Jingle Bells,  I was stomping my feet to the beat of the music to keep warm.  Jingle bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp,  Jingle Bells,  stomp, stomp, stomp…  You get the picture.  Fortunately,  my granddaughter had come prepared —  jacket,  beanie,  mittens,  so at least she was toasty warm even as I was doing  jazzercise steps.   The candles were then lit,  in honor of  and in memory of loved ones,  by the  Town Manager, the Chief of Police and a representative of the Cape Charles Coast Guard Station who all came down into the audience to do the honors after being introduced by Chris.

Candles and Carols

Candles burned brightly,  another round of carols was sung,  more jazzercise for me.   Then the big moment was almost there,  time for the Countdown to Illumination,  time to turn on the thousands of lights that had been strung to decorate  Central Park by the Cape Charles Public Works Department.  Mayor Dora Sullivan did the honors ….  5, 4 ,3, 2, 1.  Simultaneously, as instructed,  the audience blew out their candles and as they did so,  Mayor Sullivan threw the light switch.  Voila,  lights shone brightly throughout the Park,  beautiful to behold,  a reward in sparkling  colors,  a gift to everyone there from  “Citizens for Central Park”,  a  group  which worked tirelessly over the years to help make the Park and moments like this possible  for the Town and its residents ! 

Straight From The North Pole, Santa And Mrs. Claus

 With  the dazzling blue lights  decorating the roof  of the  gazebo shining brilliantly above them,  Santa and Mrs. Claus made a  “surprise”  appearance,  even did a little  North Pole style do-se-do for the delighted crowd,  then settled down to visit  with some very excited kids.   Santa dispensed smiles and hugs,  kids shyly whispered their gift requests,  then said goodbye,  smiles on their faces,  candy canes in their hands,  no doubt visions of sugar plums dancing  in their heads.   Candles, carols and candy canes,  lights,  smiles and friendship —  highlights of  the very first of what we hope are many more Grand Illuminations to come at  the Cape Charles Central Park.

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