Leesburg‘s First Friday in December opens with the lighting of the Christmas tree and the Menorah on the town green at 6 p.m. The mayor will be on hand to say a few words. There will be a holiday sing-along. The Loudoun Chorale and the local high school choir will perform.
First Friday continues throughout the evening at over 45 antique and specialty shops, art galleries and restaurants within walking distance of the center of downtown. There will be wine tastings, Christmas cookies, art exhibits and special sales. Light refreshments will be served at many of the venues. A free flyer has a map of the walking tour and a list of performances.
The highlight of Leesburg’s First Friday is the live entertainment. Dozens of locations, from banks to bistros, will host local performers. There will be plenty of musicians, some magic shows and even a standup comedy routine.
The First Friday crowd will stroll through the streets, settle in their favorite venue and catch a few tunes by their favorite folk guitarist. Then it’s on to the next place for a combo with a slightly different tempo. First Friday officially ends at 9 p.m., but a few of the clubs and restaurants will continue into the night.
On December 6, the local Lost Creek Winery will be pouring wine at Photoworks, a professional photography studio that specializes in black and white picture taking. Andy Hawk and the Train Wreck Endings will be rocking at King’s Tavern.
David Davol will sing all request music at Doehner Bistro. Doener Bistro features Euro-hip German food and crafted beer. It is located in a downtown landmark originally built from the fuselage of a World War Two bomber.
Matthew Mills will offer an acoustic night of original music and holiday tunes at Medlin Art Gallery. Medlin Art represents contemporary painters and printmakers and also deals in antique maps and prints. Many more musicians are slated to perform. Don’t expect to catch them all. Along with the live performances, there will be receptions for local artists and authors.
One of the stops on the First Friday itinerary is the Loudoun Museum. The museum will stay open late and offer Victorian caroling, wine and light snacks throughout the evening. The log cabin on the museum grounds will also be open for viewing.
The museum’s diverse collection of historical memorabilia is rich in textiles, including a Quaker peace quilt, schoolchild samplers, wedding gowns and Civil War uniforms. The archives include George Washington’s and James Monroe’s signatures. Monroe wrote the Monroe Doctrine at Oak Hill, his estate outside Leesburg.
Leesburg was divided by the Civil War; the town government changed hands about 150 times by the time the war was over. Loudoun County is part of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, which runs from Gettysburg to Monticello. The historical ephemera on display take the visitor on a tour from Loudoun County’s agricultural foundation through Reconstruction and on to more urban times.