Christmas in Ripley to feature new city-owned Starcher Mansion

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Christmas in Ripley to feature new city-owned Starcher Mansion
The Toys-for-Tots Train steams through the streets of Ripley during its annual Christmas parade.

RIPLEY, W.Va. — A community known for its events—including the state's premiere arts-and-crafts festival—the City of Ripley is ushering in the Christmas season with a line-up that expands well beyond the usual.

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A two-mile race, a classical ballet, an old-fashioned parade, a World War II Christmas play, and a prize-filled “snowball drop” in the town's stately Starcher Mansion are scheduled for the weekend of December 2-4, according to Mike Ruben, executive director of the Ripley Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The Starcher Mansion at Ripley, West Virginia, is now a city cultural center.
The Starcher Mansion at Ripley, West Virginia, is now a city cultural center. (Photo courtesy Martha Dawson)

Ruben said the busy weekend is especially important because it will feature the neoclassical Starcher Mansion, which was recently purchased by the city.

Mayor Carolyn Rader says she's excited to see the mansion host the celebration. “It’s going to be a festive evening at the historic mansion,” Rader said of the snowball drop scheduled there following the December 3 parade. “You can win a nice prize and warm up with a cup of hot chocolate, too.”

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The December 3 parade begins at 6 p.m. near Ripley High School and continues along South Church Street and West Main Street to the mansion. Parade entries include Ripley High’s Marching Band, the Toys-for-Tots Train, and Santa Claus chauffeured by the Ripley Volunteer Fire Department.

Santa’s snowball drop at the mansion, sponsored by Main Street Ripley, includes prizes and discounts to local merchants. A drop for the kids will be followed by a second drop with prizes designed for adults. Santa will then chat with the kids and present them with treats.

Elf-Off-the-Shelf is a two-mile race and walk sponsored by Waybright Funeral Home that begins just before the parade at 5:30 p.m. on December 3 near Calvary United Methodist Church. The entry fee is $30 and includes a t-shirt, and proceeds support the historic Alpine Theatre. Participants should pre-register at MSRipley.com.

Local vendors plan to sell treats in Santa’s Sweet Shoppe from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17, and a “pop-up shop” location will be hosted in the Custom Detail building on Straight Street.

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“Silenced Night, Holy Night” is an original play written by Clara Tinney Mullins set during World War II and presented by the Jackson County Players and WV Kids-on-First. Performances are 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2, 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 3, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4, in the Alpine Theatre. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for those 12 and younger.

In addition to the race, Elf-Off-the-Shelf also is a Main Street Ripley promotion involving 15 Ripley businesses from Small Business Saturday, Nov. 26, through December. Select Jackson County Chamber of Commerce members also participate in Small Business Saturday.

The Mid-Ohio Valley Ballet Company is presenting “The Nutcracker” in conjunction with Pam Bailey’s School of Dance at 2 p.m. on Dec. 4 in Ripley High’s Alumni Auditorium. Admission is $15 for adults and $8 for those 18 and younger.

Off I-77, Ripley, population 3,500, is perhaps best known for its large Fourth of July celebration and as the home of Cedar Lakes Conference Center, the home of the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair.

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