Luminaries graced the streets, homes and businesses were decked out in their finest while carolers sang throughout Solomons on Friday and Saturday, December 1-2, during the annual Solomons Christmas Walk. Sponsored by the Solomons Business Association, this event lights up the town annually on the first weekend in December.
Leading up to the event homes and businesses were encouraged to participate in a holiday decoration contest. The “Best Decorated Business” went to the Solomons Victorian Inn, located at Charles Street, near the Solomons Biological Laboratory. The Solomons Victorian Inn was dressed in white lights and greenery with a large Christmas tree gracing the sunroom. The “Best Decorated Home” belongs to Mrs. Nalda Lankford, who also lives on Charles Street. The front porch was decorated with a wonderful vignette showing Santa delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Ms. Lankford also decorated her “ducks” for the holidays.
On Friday evening the Solomons Volunteer Fire & Rescue Squad delivered Santa and his elf to the Solomons Pavilion, located on the Solomons River Walk. Santa officially started the season by switching on the Christmas tree lights. The beautiful tree will glow throughout the holiday season.
One of the first things noticed as you came onto the island was a live Nativity that graced the lawn of Our Lady Star of the Sea (OLSS) Catholic Church. Children from the congregation played the parts of Mary and Joseph, angels, shepherds and wise men. There were carolers on the lawn throughout the evening.
The Annmarie Garden & Arts Center opened with their annual holiday lightshow, “Garden in Lights.” Garden in Lights features hundreds of light sculptures that illuminate the night. These light sculptures will delight all ages and include sea creatures, enchanted gardens, wild animals, outer space creatures and storybook creatures. Each year new light sculptures are added. After viewing the lightshow, the Arts Center provided a warm location to peruse the art, enjoy hot chocolate and other treats from the Hardesty Haven Holiday Café and purchase gifts from the gift shop or the Ornament Show & Sale. Garden in Lights continues through January 1.
The Calvert Marine Museum (CMM) extended their normal First Fridays to include Saturday. First Fridays allow the community to visit the museum on the first Friday of the month for free (6 to 8 p.m.). Santa and “Bubbles,” the museum’s otter mascot visited children throughout the museum. Children were able to make holiday crafts to take home. The Museum Store was open providing wonderful gift ideas including books, holiday cards, crab knives, jewelry, toys and lots of stocking stuffers. Santa’s Coffee House opened Saturday with free coffee, tea, hot chocolate and holiday cookies. On both Friday and Saturday local music entertainment was provided. The entertainment included: Patuxent High School Carolers, Patuxent Voices, Bruce Rider & Friends, COSMIC Flute Choir, Sax Appeal Quartet and Song Birds.
The Christmas Gift Market, located next to Kingfisher’s Seafood Bar & Grill, was open on both Friday and Saturday. Many wonderful artisans and home-based businesses braved the chilly weather offering one-of-a-kind gifts. Gift ideas included logo’s pillows and stuffed animals, gifts to pamper our four-legged friends, clothing, handmade woodworks and fresh evergreens.
At the Southern Maryland Sailing Association, Santa was seen going through town in a speedboat. The members of the association had a boatbuilding area for the children and offered hot refreshments. Restaurants and shops were open offering holiday cheer. The Crab Pot Bar & Grill held a dinner theater featuring “A Dickens of a Mystery.” It was an “evening of murder, mystery, mayhem and a meal.” The ticket price included a four-course meal.
Saturday morning, the Arthritis Foundation held its annual Solomons Island Jingle Bell Run. This festive race raises money for arthritis research by getting people together with “bells on.” Runners and walkers participated knowing that 100% of the registration fee and fundraising efforts that day would go directly to the charity.
Annmarie Garden & Arts Center held their annual holiday market Saturday morning providing holiday shoppers an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on their holiday list. The market featured crafts people selling everything from jewelry, art and ornaments to hand-made scarves and canned fruits.
The Solomons Victorian Inn offered a traditional afternoon tea. If you have not enjoyed one of their teas you have missed a treat. A delicious array of tea cookies and scones are served with traditional teas in their sunroom.
Our Lady Star of the Sea School held a Chili Cook Off and bake sale. The fundraiser was featured during the school’s open house, giving bragging rights to the winners and raising approximately $1,000 for the school. Students were invited to create art for the cook-off. The top three winners of the art contest were 1st place – Jim Oster; 2nd place – Annalyse Stump; and 3rd place – Mia Plakos. A magic show was presented by Reggie the Magician.
The UMCES Chesapeake Biological Laboratory offered refreshments at their visitor center, the oldest house on Solomons Island. On Saturday at 5 p.m., there was a book reading by Dr. Helen Bailey, co-author of The Grande Turtle Adventure. A children’s book, the story has you join two baby leatherback turtles, Laurie and Tica, on their adventure as they search for food and try to find their way home. Dr. Bailey is an Associate Research Professor at the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, studying the migration of young leatherback sea turtles. The book was co-authored with George Shillinger, Ph.D, illustrated by Tracey Dorsey, and was translated to Spanish by Susana Chanfon Kung.
As evening came, the lights came on with the Patuxent High School Band providing music on the Solomons Riverwalk. The Lighted Boat Parade began in Back Creek with boats of all sizes, slowly making their way down Back Creek, making the turn at Molly’s Leg and then up the Patuxent River, providing a view to guests along the Solomons Riverwalk. Prizes were awarded after the parade at the Solomons Island Yacht Club. Prizes were awarded for Best Original Theme, Best Sailboat, Best Power Boat and Best of Show.
Special thanks is extended by the Solomons Business Association (SBA) to the Christmas Walk committee members, SBA Board, Calvert County Board of County Commissioners, Our Lady Star of the Sea, BSA Troops 427 and 451, Sail Solomons, Patuxent River Sail and Power Squadron, Solomons Yachting Center, Zahniser’s Yachting Center, Bruce Newell, SMECO, Solomons Volunteer Fire & Rescue, Solomons Civic Association, On Point Lighting & Decoration and William Lloyd Construction. Extra special thanks are extended to the 2017 Christmas Walk sponsors – Holiday Inn Solomons, Conference Center and Marina, and Berkshire Hathaway Home Services McNelis Group Properties.
Please enjoy the picture gallery below.
Joyce Stinnett Baki / Calvert Beacon Reporter