A young girl twirls to an acoustic rendition of “Jingle Bells” inside Pasquales Italian restaurant. High school students share sheet music while singing to a crowd in a bank. A man dressed in Christmas lights offers homemade soaps on the sidewalk, and an older couple split a hot chocolate.
Those sorts of scenes will play out again as Morehead presents its Hometown Holiday celebration, where local musicians will perform inside businesses along Main Street as shoppers smell seasonal peppermint and chocolate from freshly baked snacks and browse handmade holiday crafts.
A community staple in the Eastern Kentucky town, Hometown Holiday began about 10 years ago as a way to bring the community together.
“It’s awesome,” said Tony Pence, executive director of Downtown Morehead Inc. and the Hometown Holiday coordinator. There’s a lot of music and a lot of sales.”
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Inside each of the Main Street’s local businesses, one of 16 musical groups will be playing its own holiday-themed concert. These performances will feature school and church choirs, local bands, and ensembles form Morehead State University’s music department and the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music.
Bringing a brass sound to CoffeeTree Books will be Morehead State University’s Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble directed by Stacy Baker. Inprevious years, the student group has donned various Santa hats to play for chilled guests who stop in to grab a cup of hot chocolate at the attached coffee shop, The Fuzzy Duck.
“Stacey (Baker) used to work here, so it’s basically family. Tubas have always played here at Christmas,” said one of the bookstore’s owners, Grant Alden. “For us it’s the beginning of the holiday season. It’s great to see the whole community out and doing something together. It’s been such a divisive year, this is one of those times we can forget that.”
Across the street from Morehead’s famous coffee stop are Pasquale’s and Bakery on Main. Performing at the Italian restaurant will be Kentucky Center for Traditional Music instructors Thomas Albert and Sarah Wood. Pasquale’s has featured the center’s ensembles and local musicians on Thursday nights for more than a year.
“We remember why we wanted to play,” Raymond McLain, director of the Kentucky Center for Traditional Music, said of the live performances. “It wasn’t to play with perfect technique; it wasn’t to try and prove something. It was the way music makes us feel and to communicate those feelings. It was because we were inspired.”
Before the street shuts down in the evening and the tree-lighting at the Rowan County Arts Center, the Kentucky Folk Art Center will host an Appalachian Arts and Crafts Fair at Morehead State University’s Laughlin building beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The fair brings more than 1,000 people from in and out of state who shop the crafts offered by more than 100 local artisans.
“This event generates a lot of holiday sales for downtown,” said Pence of Downtown Morehead. “These Main Street events are designed to bring people downtown and to make sure everyone knows those places are there.”
Other events in the evening include pictures with Santa Claus at All-Season’s Café, Cambo the Clown at Holbrook Embroidery Plus, and Morehead’s Lions Club offering free KidsPrint IDs at Switchback bicycle shop.
Wrapping up the night is a free performance by the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra at the Morehead Conference Center. For its third Hometown Holiday concert, guest conductor Timothy Durbin will guide the orchestra through Christmas favorites including “Carol of the Bells,” “A Mad Russian’s Christmas,” “White Christmas” and “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
“The overall thing for me is the excitement, the anxiety, of getting to 5 p.m. and watching it unfold,” Pence said. “When people head down to the conference center to hear the Cave Run Symphony Orchestra and when the lights go down and everyone is satisfied, it’s when people are making the memories in their hometown.”
Jordan Simonson: @JordieLee_
If you go
When: 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 3
Where: East Main Street, Morehead
Performances are 5-8 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
▪ Tree lighting (5 p.m.), Dulcimer Club (5:30), Larry Harvey & Friends (6:40) at Rowan County Arts Center, 205 E. Main St.
▪ MSU Flute Choir at Holbrook Drug, 208 E. Main St.
▪ Rowan County Middle and High School Choirs at Cozy Building steps, 206 W. Main St.
▪ Thomas Albert and Sarah Wood at Pasquale’s Pizza & Pasta, 182 E. Main St.
▪ Sasha Colette at Bakery on Main, 178 E. Main St.
▪ MSU Tuba and Euphonium Ensemble, 5:30-7 p.m. at CoffeeTree Books and The Fuzzy Duck Coffee Shop, 159 E. Main St.
▪ The Woodsheep at Artsy Tartsy, 170 E. Main St.
▪ A capella (5 p.m.) and Whistle & Fish (6:30 p.m.) at Johnny’s Barber Shop, 141 E. Main St.
▪ MSU Flute Choir (6 p.m.) at Switchback Cycling, 139 E. Main St.
▪ First Christian Church Bell Choir (5 p.m.) and The Price Sisters (6 p.m.) at Whitaker Bank, 140 E. Main St.
▪ The Local Honeys (5 p.m.) and the Canninghams (6:30 p.m.) at US Bank, 122 E. Main St.
▪ Cambo the Clown (5:30 and 6:45 p.m.) at Holbrook Embroidery Plus, 117 E. Main St.
▪ Rowan County Middle and High School Bands at First Baptist Church, 123 E. Main St.
▪ Clearfield Tabernacle Choir (5:30 p.m.) at Morehead Police Department steps, 105 E. Main St.
▪ Excerpts from “The Nutcracker” (every 30 minutes) at the Morehead Dance Academy, 103 W. Main St.
▪ The Tealights at Expressions Salon, 178 E. Main St.
▪ Glen Ginn Band at The Citizens Bank, 114 W. Main St.
▪ Triplett Creek Jammers (6-8 p.m.) Railway and Historical Museum, 130 E. First St.
▪ Cave Run Symphony Orchestra (8 p.m.) at Morehead Conference Center, 111 E. First St.