By Julie Taylor, Daily Runner Correspondent
The Christian Broadcasting Network’s (CBN) first ever Christmas Village attracted scores of visitors to Regent University’s Virginia Beach, Virginia campus. The free event featured two weekends of dazzling displays of Christmas lights, more than 40 vendors, the area’s largest Christmas tree, and numerous children’s activities.
The celebration was planned with families in mind. Children flocked to Santa’s cottage, where their parents snapped pictures of them with the jolly old man himself. The carnival rides and scavenger hunt were also a hit with children.
Both children and adults marveled at the 40-foot Christmas tree. Lily Winsted ’20 Regent College of Arts & Sciences (CAS), described it as, “Like a bonfire, I can’t stop looking at it.”
Much of Regent’s campus was transformed into an old world style celebration of Christmas. In front of the Communication & the Arts Building, guests admired antique cars while Victorian carolers sang classic Christmas songs. Huge snowflakes were projected onto the Chapel Building’s steeple. Even the fountain was illuminated with red and green lights.
Visitors browsed stands selling everything from handmade aprons to goat cheese. Operation Blessing offered guests complimentary cookies and hot apple cider. Guests also enjoyed free carriage rides and a live nativity, complete with several animals.
In addition to families from the community, Regent University students also enjoyed the Christmas Village.
“I haven’t experienced anything like it before, everyone did a great job,” said Ritter Minnix ’20 (CAS),
Lexie Curson ’19 (CAS), also enjoyed the celebration. She noted that the lights were “amazing,” but her favorite part was the live nativity, which she thought was “a really sweet addition to the whole experience.”
Gordon Robertson, CEO of CBN, first thought of holding the event while he was in Germany filming a documentary. Robertson enjoyed visiting one of the Christmas marketplaces that are common in Germany. Realizing that the Virginia Beach area did not have anything similar, Robertson decided that CBN would start hosting a Christmas market for the community to come and enjoy.
CBN views holding the Christmas Village to be a way of saying “thank you” to the Virginia Beach community. Regent University and CBN hope to invite the community back next year for another Christmas Village.