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Festival helps light up inn
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Virginia Home Inn in Fieldale has been aglow with Christmas lights and decorations this season thanks to the dale Heritage Festival. (Bulletin photo by Mike Wray)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

By BEN R. WILLIAMS - Bulletin Staff Writer

Those who drive around looking at Christmas lights each holiday season may have noticed some new decorations at the Virginia Home Inn in Fieldale, thanks to the Fieldale Heritage Festival.

This is the second year that the Fieldale Heritage Festival has sponsored Christmas lights at the Inn.

William Lewis, who operates the inn with Edward Lewis, said the building was constructed in 1920 as the home of Fieldale founder Marshall Field. The 22-room home now is an inn and bed and breakfast.

Lewis said the lights aren’t the sort that can be found in a store. They are special-ordered from a company that specializes in Christmas lighting.

“The response has been phenomenal,” Lewis said, adding that attendance has increased dramatically since the lights were first displayed last year.

“People come from far and wide to see the lights,” said Bea Bullard, who is one of the two co-chairmen of the Fieldale Heritage Festival.

“For a number of years, we had lights in the yard of the Fieldale Community Center,” Bullard said.

After that program was discontinued, “we wanted to get some lights and attraction back into Fieldale,” she added.

The Fieldale Heritage Festival organizers approached the Virginia Home Inn about co-sponsoring a display of holiday lights there, and Lewis happily agreed.

“We’re so lucky to have them as proprietors of Virginia Home Inn,” Bullard said of the Lewises. “We wanted to support them as much as we could.”

“We think it’s really a beautifully decorated Inn,” Bullard said. “It’s worthwhile for people to come by if they want to see beautiful decorations.”

According to both Bullard and Lewis, several new decorations were added this year, including a wooden sleigh and reindeer and a Christmas tree on the porch.

The tree featured colored lights, a change from last year’s all-white lights “to sort of go with the home. It needed a little color,” Lewis said.

The Fieldale Volunteer Fire Department installs the decorations, takes them down after Christmas and stores them at the fire department during the year.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” Lewis said.

The Fieldale Heritage Festival takes place each May, and its organizers sponsor additional fundraisers throughout the year to help cover the costs of projects such as the Christmas lights.

“We always need help,” Bullard said, and encouraged anyone interested in volunteering with the festival to call her at 673-6536 or her co-chair, Alice Anne Gwynn, at 673-6543.

Also, anyone is welcome at the Fieldale Heritage Festival’s open meetings, which generally take place at 1:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month in the senior room at the Fieldale Community Center.

In January, the meeting will take place on the second Wednesday.

The lights at Virginia Home Inn will be up until the week after New Year’s, according to Lewis, who added that they plan to continue the new holiday tradition next year.

“It’s just like an old-fashioned Christmas,” he said.


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