FAIRMONT – Get ready for a Feast of Seven Fishes and a 200th birthday celebration.
The kick-off for Fairmont’s 200th Birthday Celebration will be held the same day as this year’s Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival on Dec. 14, according to Patricia J. Pagan, executive director of Main Street Fairmont, which is hosting both events.
Called “Holiday Homecoming,” the kick-off for the 200th birthday celebration will be held from 3-7 p.m. from Monroe Street (including the green space on Adams Street) to the Veterans Plaza, up to the parking garage and the parking lot next to it, where there will be food trucks. Stores will be open for shoppers and shops will host local artists and authors.
“When we ask people what they remember most about the heydays of Fairmont, most talk of holiday shopping downtown; how crowded and beautiful it was,” Pagan said. “In honor of Fairmont’s 200-year birthday, an old fashioned holiday is planned with stores going all out to decorate.”
She also noted that the Holiday Parade takes place “right in the middle” at 5 pm. “Carolers, music, food trucks and lights will make the streetscape merry,” she said.
Pagan said the Arts & Antiques Marketplace will play “a big part in this special event.”
“Santa will be on the second floor before and after the parade and waving to those below from the large windows facing Adams Street,” she said.
She said that photos can be taken as the children talk to Santa.
“On the third floor, entertainment and book readings will be center stage and there are three full floors of unique items available for purchase,” she said. “We are planning to have some nostalgic showcases of the Jones and Hartley Store displays of the past and the new owner of the business, (Dominick Claudio), is going to be sure the front windows are going to be ‘kids noses pressed up against the glass’ beautiful! Even if it is cold, there will be plenty of indoor activities to make a visit worthwhile.”
Roxann Lemley, assistant manager at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace, is excited about the upcoming celebration.
“It’s great,” she said. “I’m excited. It should be really nice.” She liked how the businesses were being given a chance to participate in the festivities.
Pagan has big expectations for the event.
“We are hoping to kick off the year-long events by reminding everyone of the holiday season of their pasts here in Fairmont,” she said. “We hope to showcase the new (and old) businesses and let people see the beauty of our downtown; what it was and what it can be. Although those times of packed out hustle and bustle are gone, a glimpse of a new version of Downtown Fairmont is emerging even as we have to deal with some challenges…”
She said they “want to showcase all that is still good.” She said people are excited about the festivities.
“ Everyone that we have shared this with gets a sparkle in their eyes when we talk about what we are planning,” she said. “The response has been completely positive.”
Pagan, meanwhile, noted that the Feast of the Seven Fishes Festival will once again be held on Monroe Street from 11-5 p.m. and will be on the same day as the 200th Anniversary Kickoff. The Festival will offer an Italian street market, vendors, food and food trucks, music and a beer garden.
“Gatherings will once again host vendors inside and provide musical entertainment as well,” she said.
However, Pagan said this year’s festival “will be even more special” because the movie by the same name as the festival will be released nationwide in select theaters starting on Nov.15.
She said the movie’s writer and director, Robert Tinnell, will be on hand to meet and greet guests as well as sign books and DVDs.
“Most of the movie was shot locally so there are many familiar places and faces on the big screen,” she said. “Actors from ‘The Sopranos’ are also featured in the film.”
Pagan noted there will also be more to do with the Miner’s Appreciation event also taking place that morning beginning at 10 a.m.
”Main Street Fairmont is hosting both the Feast of the Seven Fishes and the Holiday Homecoming,” she said. “They are joining with the Miner’s Appreciation Event and Swap Meet which will be held that day in the Arts & Antiques Marketplace from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to ensure there is something for everyone. Groups that would like to join up to be part of the day-long events can contact Main Street at (304) 336-0468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Pagan explained why Main Street Fairmont why to hold the Feast and birthday celebration the same day.
“We love the Feast and it definitely stands alone but since the parade is also on the same day, this event bridges the two and brings the action further up Main Street for the benefit of our guests and also our Merchants,” she said. “That is why we are staggering the hours of the Feast and the Holiday Homecoming.
“Also, there are two other events on that day; the Miner’s Swap Meet is going to be held at the Arts & Antiques Marketplace from 10-3 and the Woman’s Club is having an open house. All these combined means we are joining together by offering a full day of fun, holiday activities to the community.”