Christmas at Fort New Salem keeps traditions alive

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“It’s the season for holiday celebration and we have an environment that is second to none with our campus of the authentic Appalachian cabins, the ambiance of being in cabins, and just sitting around and thinking these cabins were put together several hundred years ago,” said Dr. Joseph Audia, chairperson of the Fort New Salem Foundation.  

The 44th annual Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains at Fort New Salem certainly is a unique way to get into the holiday spirit.  With the story telling, chestnut roasting, live music, pottery crafting, candle dipping and much more, it really does feel like you’re celebrating Christmas in 1797.  

And for some, their families really did live, walk and breathe in places like Fort New Salem. 

“It’s very important for me because I am the last male in that Davis line that actually came here, put up with the hardships that you can experience when you come to Fort New Salem, and endured to found the community and keep it going,” said Glenn Davis, a 7th generation citizen of Harrison County.  

The whole idea is to preserve history, like when the Fort New Salem Foundation decided to implement “Belsnickling” into the event’s festivities, emulating when the tallest man of the town used to go around and give good children candy, while giving bad children’s parents a switch.  

And the best way to preserve history, besides Belsnickling of course, is to have today’s children see what it was like in the Mountain State long ago.  

“We like to think that when people come out to it, you spend a day, you make a memory.  People walk away with a huge smile on their face from it, but we’ve been able to add a lot of kids’ hands-on things like kids have the opportunity to make a candle,” said Audia.    

New Fort Salem is open again for Spirit of Christmas in the Mountains on Saturday, December 2 and Sunday, December 3 beginning at 2:00 p.m. 

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