SALEM - The 40th Annual Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains sponsored by the Fort New Salem Foundation will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 at Fort New Salem off U.S. 50 in Salem about 45 miles east of Parkersburg.
The festival is a celebration of the cultural folkways of Scotch, Irish, English and German settlers in West Virginia and their customs and lifestyles that represent the diversity of beliefs and traditions of the season.
Festivities will feature live music, caroling by area choirs including the Clarksburg Madrigals on Dec. 7, gifts for sale, weaving, blacksmithing, open hearth cooking, belsnickeling and a traditional tree lighting.
Participants light the tannenbaum during the Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains at Fort New Salem in Salem, W.Va. The event will be Saturday, Sunday and next weekend at the fort off U.S. 50.
Gates will open one hour early on Saturday for the reopening and rededication of the Farm House. Participants will hear bagpipe music and see a painting by John Randolph, a founder of Fort New Salem.
Each day's celebration is capped at sundown with Gaily-dressed revelers lighting the hundreds of hand-dipped candles arrayed upon an outdoor evergreen. The sight of this lighting of the candles as carolers proclaim the season will move visitors.
Another unique aspect of our celebration is Belsnickeling, a tradition practiced in German settlements of West Virginia. It features costumed and masked mummers who will roam from house to house demanding attention and favors.
Appearances of the Der Belsnickel and his band of roving mummers, a noisy and colorful group, are throughout the day during our celebration.
General admission is $5 with children 10 & under admitted free with paying adult.