Community Calendar | #specialneeds | #kids

SPECIAL ED ADVOCACY 101. Hosted by SWVA Legal Aid Society, a free Special Education Advocacy 101 webinar on Dec. 15 at 10 a.m. will help participants learn about special education evaluations, the planning process, and the safeguards in both state and federal law, such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (504) and Section 504 that guarantee students with special needs the right to a free and appropriate public education. Hank Bostwick, a new SVLAS staff attorney, will be the webinar presenter. Bostwick has represented students, parents and school boards in Virginia, Alabama, and Texas in matters related to the provision of special education and related services and compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for the past twenty years. A former educator, he now helps solve school-related legal problems for low-income families and children across the SVLAS service area. Register at For more information, reach out to Gary Cody, or 276-783-8300, ext. 2011.

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BECOME A MASTER GARDENER. The Wythe-Bland Region Master Gardener Association is currently holding a class for trainees to learn to become Virginia Volunteer Master Gardeners at Wytheville Community College. Each year’s class runs from approximately Sept. 13 to its graduation around May 2. The classes consist of the training program from Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, research-based information consisting of a combination of online training modules, in-person classes, and in-person labs. Internship consists of completing the training program and 50 hours of volunteer service time. The intern then becomes a Virginia Certified Volunteer Master Gardener. To learn more, email or contact David Danner by calling or texting 276-223-7773. 

CHRISTMAS MUSICAL.  On Saturday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m., a free Christmas program will be held at the Wytheville SDA Church, 1600 Chapman Road, Wytheville. Many members of the church along with students and teachers from The Institute for Practical Living will participate. Immediately following the program, there will be a reception in the church fellowship hall. 

CHRISTMAS VOICES. The Chatham Hill First Church of God in Rich Valley will present “Christmas Voices” on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. Refreshments will be served following the service.

FOOD PANTRY SCHEDULE. The food pantry at First United Methodist Church is planning to continue its monthly distributions throughout 2022. The church is at 115 South Church Street in downtown Marion, behind Wells Fargo Bank. The food pantry is open to everyone with no proof of income required. Face masks and social distancing are required. For December, the pantry will be open from 1-4 p.m. on Dec. 20. For information, call 276-783-5194.

FOOD CO-OP. The Wytheville SDA Church has started a co-op for the surrounding area.  All are welcome to participate. Azure Standard, a natural grocery store on wheels, will be making monthly pre-ordered deliveries of low-cost, non-GMO and organic foods, herbs, and health/beauty products in the area. For more information contact Antoinette at or call 919-763-2381.

CHRISTMAS IN MARION. Voting is underway for Marion’s window decorating contest. Winners will be announced Dec. 2.

MARION CHRISTMAS MINI MARKETS. Marion will host several mini outdoor Christmas markets; Dec. 3, 10, and 17 at the farmers market location at the corner of Chestnut and Cherry streets.

CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS IN CHILHOWIE. The town of Chilhowie will kick off its holiday celebration with a Christmas Tree Lighting on Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the farmers market/old high school. Then, on Dec. 3, the town will host its Christmas parade at 11 a.m. and its Christmas Bazaar from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. To be a bazaar vendor, call 276-780-3159 or 276-646-3232. To take part in the parade, call 276-646-3232.

MERRY MARION. The Merry Marion Downtown open house and community Christmas tree lighting will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, beginning at 5 p.m. at participating businesses. The tree lighting will take place at 7 p.m. in front of the town hall. The event is expected to feature kids games, Christmas bingo, free s’mores and hot chocolate, community choir caroling, horse-drawn carriage rides (weather permitting) and other activities.

HOLIDAY LIGHTS DRIVING TOUR. Abingdon’s annual Holiday Lights Driving Tour will return Dec. 1-30. This holiday event that covers eight square miles will feature lights and decorations from local homes and businesses in the Town of Abingdon. In 2021, the tour featured more than 40 light displays, including participants such as Barter Theatre, Martha Washington, and many businesses along Main Street in Abingdon. Both print and digital driving tour maps will be available mid to late November.

MARION CHRISTMAS PARADE. The annual holiday parade is set for Friday, Dec. 2, at 7 p.m. in downtown Marion.

SANTA’S ELVES. The Santa’s Elves program that serves Smyth County residents is accepting referrals through Dec. 2. Call 276-783-8148 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Eligibility is income based to assist children 0 to 15 years of age.

COMMUNITY CLOTHES CLOSET. The Northwood High School Beta Club will sponsor a Community Clothes Closet in the NHS cafeteria on Saturday, Dec. 10, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Among the available items are clothes in sizes from 2 Toddler through Adult XXL, shoes, new stuffed animals, some bedding and personal items. Everything is free to the public.

CHAMBER OPEN HOUSE. The Smyth County Chamber of Commerce will host an open house on Dec. 16 from 12-4 p.m. Santa will make a special appearance from 2-4 p.m.

SANTA’S WORKSHOP. Long Neck Lair Alpaca Farm at 7530 Lee Highway in Rural Retreat (just off the Groseclose exit) will host a special Santa’s Workshop with opportunities to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. Reservations are needed to meet Santa; call Kay at 408-315-4200. The Dec. 17 event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will include meeting alpacas, angora goats, and Smyth Animal Rescue cats as well as shop at the farm store. The event will benefit SAR. Visitors are asked to bring a monetary or pet food donations for SAR.

WINTER WONDERLAND. The Museum of the Middle Appalachians is hosting its 16th annual Winter Wonderland of Christmas Trees, featuring community sponsored and decorated Christmas trees, wreaths and other holiday vignettes. The exhibit  is open and will stay up through Jan. 8, 2023. This year’s event is listed on the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s website as one of its Holiday Lights destinations and is expected to feature more than the 39 trees of 2021. The museum is open daily Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 1-4 p.m.

BINGO. The Smyth County Moose Lodge continues to offer bingo every Friday night at 6:30 p.m. with doors opening at 5:30 p.m.

MT. PLEASANT MUSEUM. The Mount Pleasant Preservation Society Museum in Marion, which preserves the history and voices of this area’s Black residents, will now open regularly on Wednesdays from 1-2 p.m. At 320 South Main St. in Marion, the museum was founded by the late Evelyn Thompson Lawrence, a historian, educator, and community advocate. Lawrence, according to a museum brochure, “had a vision of creating a museum that recognized a people whose voices and contributions to our community and the world have either been forgotten, or too long ignored.” The museum will be open on Wednesdays for self-guided tours, weather permitting. The museum is also open by appointment by calling Diane Hayes at 276-780-3950.

HIGHER ED CENTER TRUSTEES. The Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center Board of Trustees will conduct its biannual meeting on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. at the Higher Education Center, One Partnership Circle, Abingdon. Persons wishing to address the board must call Kathy Hietala at 276-619-4346 no later than Dec. 1 in order to be placed on the meeting agenda.

NARCOTICS ANONYMOUS. Narcotics Anonymous’ Marion survivors group will meet at 8 p.m. Sundays. Come in the back door at Court Street to Royal Oak Presbyterian Church, 139 W. Main St., Marion. For more information, call Mike F. at 276-646-8462.

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