NORTHAMPTON COUNTY, Va. - "It's like a Hallmark Christmas movie."
That's the best way Roxane Ward knows how to describe the transformation of Cape Charles beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving.
In recent years, Festive Fridays has turned into a tradition in the Eastern Shore town — with Santa, holiday-themed movies, music, food and even fake snow — every Friday night until Christmas.
Ward's Buoy 56 and other locally-owned shops that line the main drag, Mason Ave., open their doors with unique sales to increase foot traffic.
"This is really their last chance to really have a great end to their season. Then, January and February, everyone's restocking. Everything is still open, but this is what pads everything for the rest of the long winter," said Karen Zamorski, Executive Director of Cape Charles Main Street, an organization dedicated to improving a town often seen as a summer getaway to visitors.
Ward says 2021 brought the busiest summer yet for the two-year-old clothing store she owns with her sister-in-law, but once as the leaves fell, sales did too.
"It was a dramatic drop," Ward told News 3. "On occasion we'll have a good weekend. We have a lot of daytrippers. During the week, we'll have a couple pop-ins but you never know what day it's going to be."
She says successful Festive Fridays, usually followed by events through the weekend, will help her pay the bills and her employees through the winter.
But make no mistake, she also enjoys the spirit and the fun these next few weekends bring to the holidays.
"If you're not a Christmas person, you will be when you leave Cape Charles on a weekend or a Festive Friday," she said.
Festive Fridays run from 5-9 p.m. each Friday between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Then, starting at 4:45 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, a night of events will include a lighted golf cart parade, Grand Illuminations event, lighted boat parade and an after party.