Alexandria celebrates the season in kilts and tartans


November 20, 1994|By Dorothy Fleetwood | Dorothy Fleetwood,Contributing Writer

Alexandria, Va., is gearing up for a bigger-than-ever Christmas celebration this year, and the main event is the 24th annual Scottish Christmas Walk Dec. 3. The walk is a favorite event among city residents and has always been a top tourist attraction, but this year, with expanded activities, it is expected to draw even larger crowds than usual. As a reminder of Alexandria's Scottish heritage, most events will have a Scottish theme.

"Settings of the Season" opens Friday and runs through Dec. 3 at the Campagna Center, 418 S. Washington St. Interior designers will create 30 vignettes related to holiday decorating and entertaining. One of the designers is Michael Roberson, whose work was recognized as one of House Beautiful's 1994 "Top 10 Showhouse Rooms in America." Vignettes include beautiful table settings, a gingerbread village, antique toys, a Hanukkah setting and Christmas trees. There will be tips and ideas for visitors to incorporate into their own holiday decorations. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $8 daily, except for Dec. 3. On that date, tickets for the entire day, which include not only the "Settings of the Seasons" exhibit but also all the many performances scheduled, cost $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Another early event will be the Lyceum's annual Scottish Preview from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Attractions include Scottish dancing, "please touch" artifacts for children, a display of Scottish tartans, Scottish bake sale, a bagpiper, a travel video on Scotland, traditional music performed on the hammered dulcimer, military formations and drills by Montgomery's Highlanders and demonstrations and lessons by the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Admission is free. The Lyceum is at 201 S. Washington St. Call (703) 838-4994.

Alexandria's historic district will be decorated for the holidays and residents will step out in their best tartans for the Scottish Christmas Walk. Many of their pets will also sport tartan jackets or ribbons for the big parade Dec. 3. It begins at 10:30 a.m. in the streets of Old Town Historic District and ends at noon at Market Square, where parade bands will perform in a massed bands concert.

During the afternoon (weather permitting), there will be performances on the outdoor stage at Market Square by the Royal Scottish Country dancers and also by a group from Opera Americana.

There will also be indoor performances, including Celtic Chamber Folk Music by Ensemble Galilei at the Courthouse; opera tenor Charles Williams performing American favorites at the Little Theatre of Alexandria; Colonial bell ringers and the Kiltie Band of York at the Lyceum; a holiday concert by the Alexandria Choral Society; and the Alfred Street Baptist Church Male Choir.

At the Robert E. Lee Boyhood Home, costumed docents will serve complimentary refreshments as you tour the house and listen to period music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the final offering of the afternoon will be highlights from "The Nutcracker" by the Alexandria Ballet Company at 4 p.m. at the Athenaeum.

Children can attend an ornament workshop at the Torpedo Factory from noon to 4 p.m., enjoy performances by Bob Brown's Puppet Company at Christ Church or listen to a storyteller at the Holiday Inn.

Tickets will be available at a booth on Market Square, where there will also be a heather and greens sale. Catered bag lunches will also be available. Proceeds will benefit the Campagna Center's community outreach programs. One additional event is a Holiday Homes Tour featuring six Old Town homes. It requires a separate ticket -- $5 for a single home or $15 for complete tour. For information, call (703) 548-0111.

'Christmas in Odessa'

"Christmas in Odessa" Dec. 3 will be a tour of private homes in the tiny town of Odessa, Del., and in the surrounding countryside. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the tour, sponsored by the Women's Club of Odessa. Fifteen private homes and eight public buildings will be decorated and open to the public. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. you can visit homes in Odessa and take the country tour with buses leaving from the Old Academy every 20 minutes between 9:40 a.m. and 3:40 p.m. The candlelight tour of Odessa begins at 4 p.m. and runs until 9 p.m. Some of the town's homes are open only for the candlelight tour.

Additional attractions include juried crafts for sale at the Christmas shops located in the fire hall, a greens booth, carriage rides, a used-book sale, an antique-train show, complimentary tea and cookies, Santa Claus, and dance and musical performances.

Refreshments will be available throughout the day and evening at the fire hall, and St. Paul's Church will hold a chicken dinner from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tour tickets cost $15, including day and evening tours and the country tour bus; free for 12 and under. Odessa is on U.S. 13 between Wilmington and Dover. Call (302) 378-4900.

Chadds Ford tours

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