Christmas Spirit At Hydaway: Campus Rec Hosts Extravaganza For Lynchburg Community

Hydaway Outdoor Center hosted an event for Christmas called “Christmas at Hydaway” on Dec. 2-4. This was a free event with Christmas lights, bonfires, s’mores, doughnuts, photo booths and Christmas crafts.

“This event is a festival of lights that entails walking through or driving through the many light scenes that the Hydaway staff have put together,” said Maria Campanella, assistant director of Hydaway Outdoor Center. “We will have some interactive scenes where guests can write letters to Santa, eat some cookies or doughnuts and enjoy the lights.”

Last year, the event was hindered due to COVID-19. However, this year, students and families had the opportunity to grow their Christmas spirit by walking around a Christmas filled Hydaway.

“This event is made for the public and the Liberty community,” said Campanella. “It is fun for all ages, and everybody is welcome. Thursday night is a drive-thru night where the participants remain in their vehicles and Friday and Saturday nights are for guests to walk through and interact with the light scenes. The event was all drive-thru last year due to COVID-19, so we wanted to make sure that option was still available.”

Food trucks were at Hydaway for the event. When people walked in, they were offered a ticket for a free doughnut. Families with their children surrounded the many campfires and made s’mores together.

“We have been setting up the lights and preparing for this event since the beginning of October and so much work goes into this event,” said Campanella. “This is many of our staff’s favorite time of year because many of our shifts are spent putting up lights and spending a lot of time together.”

When participants finished looking at all the lights and exited, they received a free ornament from the Campus Recreation staff.

“We’ve been working on this since October and seeing all of our hard work pay off has been amazing,” said Emma Marano, a staff member for Campus Recreation. “The walkthrough is really cool, but having s’mores and a fireplace is pretty unique. But, just for people to come out and enjoy the Christmas spirit is really fun.” 

The event had lots of Christmas music playing and a wall where people could write what they wanted for Christmas. Kids also had the opportunity to meet Santa.

“My favorite part of the event is seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces, especially when the children are running around and interacting with the various scenes displayed,” said Sidney Williamson, manager of Outdoor Recreation.

Christmas at Hydaway brought success for the outdoor center with roughly 600 people in attendance each night. It is expected that the tradition will continue with another Christmas celebration in 2022.

Hazard is a news reporter.

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