Black Friday and Cyber Monday may kick off the holiday shopping season but, locally, Christmas of Yesteryear officially heralds the arrival of the season and the much-loved community event returns at 5 p.m. Friday on the Hope Town Square, downtown Hope.

As in previous years, visitors can look forward to an array of holiday-themed activities, including caroling, sweet treats, games at the shelter house, a live Nativity in the lot near WILLow LeaVes of Hope, and the arrival of Jolly Old Saint Nick at 5:15 p.m.

“Of course, all the stores will be open for shopping,” says Jessica Brown, president of the Yellow Trail Museum, which is presenting the event.

Revisiting Christmases of Hope’s past, this year’s historical character performances on the bandstand will feature appearances by some of Hope’s most notable residents, including Martin and Susannah Hauser, who helped found the area’s Moravian community, Sarah Wolle, who taught at the Moravian Female Seminary, and Edith Romig, captain of the girls’ basketball team in the early 1900s – apparently there is nothing like trying to shoot hoops in a skirt and full bloomers.

“I like the historic character sketches because you get to learn a little more about the history of Hope,” Brown says. “That is my favorite part.”

Brown will be portraying Prudence Winterrowd Douglas, a Hope resident who was anything but pleased with women’s rights at the time and played an instrumental role in the suffrage movement.

“When we had the 100th anniversary of Women’s Suffrage in 2020, I wanted to find someone in the Hope area who was involved in suffrage,” Brown says. "People kinda scoffed at me and said it would be impossible to do but I found one, so I am proud about that."

Susan Thayer Fye, a volunteer with the Yellow Trail Museum, says she is looking forward to the return of cookie decorating at the Yellow Trail, an activity that went by the wayside when COVID hit.

Hope resident Lesa Cleland is baking dozens of wonderful shortbread cookies fashioned into shapes of the season that she is donating for the event, Fye says.

“It’s a big ol’ mess, people love it,” Fye says. “We have sprinkles and colored icing and the kids just love it.”

This year will also feature the debut of the German-themed Christmas market, a feature spearheaded by Dan Fleming, a member of the board of directors for the Community Center of Hope.

The paired Christmas of Yesteryear and Christmas market will only be offered Friday evening; however, the Christmas market will reopen from 12 to 8 p.m. Saturday and return again the following weekend with the same hours.