Wintertide is Saturday December 4 in Highland County

Hi, this is Chris Swecker, Executive Director of the Highland County Chamber of Commerce, and I’m here to talk to you today as the holiday season is upon us about some upcoming events and opportunities here in Highland County.

Wintertide will be held on Saturday, December 4.  A lot of things are going on at The Highland Center this year from 10am to 5pm.  There will be a Wintertide market with local vendors.  There will be a lot of kids crafts and opportunities there, including cookie decorating with Claire’s Cake Company from 10am to 3pm.  There will be lunch available there.  At 1:30 there will be a story time.  Gather around the Christmas tree and hear some stories before a visit from Santa Claus from 2 to 4pm.  After that visit with Santa, there will be two performances of “A Nutcracker Christmas”.  There’ll be mini performances at 4 and 4:30pm by Sundance Studios and Productions.

Also, around the county there will be several different organizations that are offering specials, discounts, more gifts that you can buy for the holiday season.  Several of our sugar camps will opening their doors and several of them are on the Virginia Maple Syrup Trail.  If you are not familiar with the Syrup Trail, that’s a program where you can go and visit seven sugar camps in the county and get your passport stamped after a tour and a taste of their syrup.  And if you visit all seven, get your passport stamped and send it in to the Chamber, we will send you out a shirt and a bumper sticker as a prize for all of your efforts.  Usually, you’d have to call the sugar camps in advance to schedule a tour, but some of them will be opening their doors for tours and you can get your passport stamped, as well as enjoy the different gifts and specials that they have.

Big Fish Cider will also be open from 2 to 5pm, where you can enjoy some free mulled cider and cidery tours.

We invite you to check out other stores and businesses that will be open that Saturday and a lot of times there’s some really creative window displays and lights start going up, so we just hope you enjoy all that Wintertide has to bring you this year.

The Chamber is deep in the process of preparing for the return of the Highland County Maple Festival and we are so excited to have that come back and welcome back all the visitors that have missed us for the past two years.  It is set for March 12 – 13 and 19 – 20 and we are looking for vendors right now.   If you’re an arts and crafts vendor or a food vendor, if you have a food truck, we’re looking for unique and one-of-a-kind items that really makes our event special.

I also want to let you know about two opportunities that locals in Highland County can take advantage of.  One is the Highland Economic Development Authority’s 2022 Incentive Grant Program.  If you are a business that is looking to start up or expand, there are grant funds available in the range of $2,000 to $5,000 per business.  Those applications are out from the EDA and are due by 4:30pm on December 6.

The other opportunity is the Tourism Council’s Marketing Assistance Program.  Their applications are also due on December 6.  The Tourism Council has appropriated up to $3,000 in available assistance to stimulate targeted tourism initiatives and new marketing opportunities.   I want to thank the Highland EDA and the Tourism Council for providing these funds for our business and non-profit communities.

For any of these events and these opportunities, you can visit our website at

We hope to see you here in Highland County soon and we hope you have a great holiday season.

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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