ROCKFORD — Even though Thanksgiving is just a couple of days behind us, an annual Christmas tradition is just around the corner in the Historic Village of Rockford.
On Dec. 1 and 2 the Rockford Preservation Society will hold its 26th Candlelight Christmas at the 1914 Methodist Church located on Rockford Road.
“We have a wonderful program every year,” said the society’s president, Hannah Holyfield. “It should be a great line-up.”
Holyfield said the musical program will begin at 7:30 p.m. on both evenings, and refreshments will be served after each program. Those looking to attend are asked to park at the parking lot located across the street from Rockford Baptist Church at 4947 Rockford Road. A YVEDDI shuttle will then deliver folks to the historic church.
On Thursday, Dec. 1 the musical performances will include Dr. Gena Poovey, who helped start the annual event a quarter century ago and who now is a professor of music at Limestone College in Gaffney, South Carolina. She will be accompanied by Adam Rudisill.
Other performances Thursday evening will include Gene Anderson and Reel Shady, Wendy and Johnny Dearmin, Susie Cooper and Randy Candelaria. The Surry Central High School Chorus, directed by Angie Smith, will close out the evening.
On Friday, Dec. 2 the Limestone College Chorus, directed by Poovey, will take the place of the high school chorus. Poovey and Rudisill will again open the evening, and Ashley and Devin Matthews and the Marshall Brothers and High Road will perform.
The candlelight service is free for all who wish to attend. However, Holyfield said a collection will be taken. This year she is hoping people are exceptionally generous when the offering plate makes its way around the church.
“For about the past five years we have had problems with the furnace in the church,” explained Holyfield.
She said on the second evening of the 2015 candlelight service a contractor informed the preservation society the furnace was “on its last leg.” The group began replacing the furnace in the summer.
Though the furnace is now replaced, the group still owes money toward the $6,000 cost, according to Holyfield.
“We would certainly greatly appreciate any donations,” remarked Holyfield.
If past Candlelight Christmas events are an indicator, Holyfield said there will be plenty of folks in attendance for the service. Around the year 2000, the event went from a one-night affair to two nights. The church holds 100 to 120 people, and she expects it will fill on both evenings.
The shuttle service from the parking location begins at 6:30 p.m. on both evenings, and Holyfield said there is a new treat for those with a little extra time to spend in the historic village. A store, Generation Junkies, is setting up shop in the 1900 post office.
According to Holyfield, the store, which is owned by a mother and daughter duo, will be selling vintage furniture and all sorts of “crafty stuff.”
“It really has a lot of neat gift shop-type items for sale,” said Holyfield.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.