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by Wendy Migdal | Sponsored by Historic Manassas, Inc.
Shopping for family and friends can sometimes be difficult, especially if you’re someone who likes to find special or unusual items that fit the recipient perfectly. Last year you got Uncle Dave the toothbrush that sings “Oh What a Beautiful Morning,” so how can you possibly top that? It’s like a scavenger hunt, only you don’t know what you’re looking for. Your best bet: head to downtown Manassas this December where you can have the fun of doing a real scavenger hunt while you hunt down the perfect gift.
Elf on a Shelf
From December 2 to 24, Historic Manassas and the shops downtown will be sponsoring the Elf on a Shelf contest. If you’re not familiar with the 2005 children’s book, the elves sit on shelves in people’s houses and watch over them, then fly back to the North Pole to report back to Santa on who was naughty and nice. For the scavenger hunt, participants will find 25 lost elves so that they can get back to the North Pole. You can pick up pictures of the elves you’re looking for in the train station or print them from Historic Manassas’ website. For the elf scavenger hunt, you get the thrill that comes with locating your quarry (read: no prizes). However, along the way, you are bound to find unique treasures to give to others, and giving is what Christmas is all about, right?
For more shopping opportunities, come out on December 10 to the Holiday Market. Over 200 vendors will be set up in parking lots around the train depot. That’s the same day as the VRE Santa Train, so if you’re lucky enough to get a ticket (Historic Manassas will be selling them in person the Monday after Thanksgiving, and you can also get them online), make sure to plan for a full day downtown.
Winter Farmer’s Market
The Winter Farmer’s Market begins the next weekend, December 17, and will take place every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the commuter lot. If you’ve never been there, you will be pleasantly surprised by the variety of goods being sold. There are all kinds of homemade food, everything from bottled hot sauce to special pies made by the Bean Pie Man (and they come in many flavors!). Kelly Weinzapfel, social media coordinator, says, “We have someone from every continent, and nearly every country, there’s some representation.” Customers can also purchase kits of ingredients that they can take home and cook or bake themselves. Craft vendors include everything from candles to jewelry to ponchos made from a vendor’s alpaca wool.
These events can help turn what might be a chore into a fun outing with friends and family. Support Local whenever you can!
Wendy Migdal is a freelance writer who has lived in the Northern/Central Virginia area since 2000. She has written extensively for The Free Lance-Star and also works for online educational companies. Wendy enjoys traveling around the area to learn about parks, restaurants, attractions, and especially history