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The Spirit of Christmas 2021
The village tradition returns
December 14, 2021

mermaid on a paddleboard, dinghies on wheels, Santa… and a dragon. They were all part of the Spirit of Christmas.

Santa waves from the porch of Marsha’s Cottage.

Spirit of Christmas is yearly, two-day event where the town lights up and businesses take the opportunity to thank their customers and visitors for supporting them through the year.

It begins with preparation. At Nautical Wheelers, Bill Wheeler and Edie Baushard wrap the tree.
Nautical Wheelers lit up for Spirit of Christmas.

Groups of volunteers, under the direction of Spirit of Christmas organizer Marsha Paplham, create and set out the lunminaria along the village’s streets.

Marsha Paplham organizes The Spirit of Christmas every year. Here, she and a room full of volunteers fold bags for the annual luminaria.
Along South Ave, and throughout the village, luminaria line the streets for one night only.

The Light Up Oriental decorating contest urges residents and businesses to get involved and help make town festive.

The Oriental Village Veterinary Office is draped in holiday lights. They won the award for Most Whimsical Business decorations.
This year’s winners were:
Most Whimsical:
• Oriental Veterinary Hospital
• Sheri Hicks

Most Traditional
• Mariner Realty
• Hugh & Dixie Midyette

Most Animated
• Village Hardware

Most Nautical
• Brantley’s Village Restaurant
• Jane & Paul David

Most Lights
• Oriental Marina & Inn
• Wilma Kennedy

The ‘What the Heck is That’ Award
• Don Mau

Decorations from around Oriental – both in the Village and out towards the boatyards.

Lights are on the water as well as the land. On Friday near dusk, the lighted kayak flotilla – comprised of human powered vessels – paddles into Oriental harbor to light up the night. This year, Mayor Sally Belangia welcomed everyone to the event and lit the Christmas Star at the town dock on Hodges Street.

Later that evening, the Tree of Names and Lights – honoring loved ones on two and four legs, both living and dead – is lit in Lou Mac Park.

More holiday scenes from in and around Oriental.

Business open houses continue Saturday, with a Spirit of Christmas Parade, a Live Nativity, and more events (like gingerbread house decorating) from local non-profits.

The Spirit of Christmas is the second week in December, and next year’s has already been scheduled: Friday, December 9 – Saturday, December 10, 2022.

Light displays in and around Lou Mac Park.
At the kayak flotilla, arms strength, not motors, powered the lighted kayaks and paddleboards that wound through the harbor.
The forward snowoman greets the crowd and throws snow while the rear snowman provides propulsion.
Terrell Scott (center) watches participants of the lighted flotilla.
The New Bern Yacht Club docked their boats at Oriental Marina, providing a more stationary floating light display.
The Tree of Names and Lights honors loved ones both here and gone.
Kids build gingerbread houses from kits provided by Pamlico County Arts Council.
The Live Nativity at Oriental United Methodist Church, performed by the Children’s Theater Workshop.
With the star at harbor lit, the kayakers make their exit.

Posted Tuesday December 14, 2021 by Allison DeWeese

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