“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” is a proverbial phrase that promotes a positive outlook, a can-do spirit when at first the situation looks bleak and foreboding. That attitude is still present as we enter the Christmas season with several local events happening this weekend in spite of the fears of the coronavirus pandemic- The Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend, the Core Sound Decoy Carvers Guild competition, and the SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House Gingerbread Competition and Festival of Lights.
As the world hunkers down in fear of the pandemic these local organizations have chosen to stand up in the face of adversity to maintain their mission, their identity and in the process to promote their community.
The SECU Crystal Coast Hospice House board, recognizing that many outdoor events such as Christmas parades have been cancelled, decided to innovate and extend their Christmas celebration by adding a Festival of Lights in addition to hosting the annual gingerbread competition.
The free Saturday and Sunday drive through event will be open for visitors from 5-8 p.m. both evenings. The display route will begin on McQueen Ave. and include “food-to-go” available for purchase at Ft. Benjamin park. There will be holiday displays including Santa, crab pot Christmas trees, and a special light display.
This effort will have a double benefit. It will showcase the Hospice House facility and inform the public about its location and purpose. It is ironic that this facility, dedicated to patients who are facing life’s final moments, is the site of a celebration, Christmas, dedicated to the birth of Christ and a time of family happiness. There is no better time to contemplate and appreciate this very special facility serving families who are facing the final moments of life with their loved ones.
The second benefit will be to the community writ large, reminding us of all the wonders and magic of Christmas as visitors drive by in their cars looking at the magic of lights and displays put on by volunteers.
The Hospice House annual gingerbread display and competition will continue this year but at Intersection Church, 5458 Highway 70-W, Morehead City, instead of the Crystal Coast Civic Center where it has been held for the past seven years. The organizers opted for the new location to better control access to assure that proper safety measures are followed. That event will be open for viewing Dec. 8-12.
The Core Sound Waterfowl Weekend event, Friday through Sunday this weekend, will continue its 29-year heritage but under stringent controls to assure safety for all participants. Many of the activities have been moved outside the museum with carvers, collectors and artists tailgating on the museum’s grounds and parking area. Like the Hospice House event, the museum is also innovating, adding a gallery of Christmas trees celebrating the traditions and communities and special events of the region.
At the same time the Decoy Carvers Guild will continue their annual displays and competition, but at their headquarters building on Straits Road instead of the Harkers Island Elementary School building where the event has been conducted for the past 33 years.
Karen Amspacher, the Museum and Heritage Center’s executive director, commenting on the challenges she, the staff and the community faced over the past three years because of Hurricane Florence, extended recovery and now the pandemic, noted “… the spirit remains the same.”
That spirit Ms. Amspacher noted is a spirit of resilience, adaptation and above all community.
After nine months of worry, fear and questioning brought on by the pandemic, Ms. Amspacher is correct in her comment about the spirit remaining. Organizations such as Hospice House, Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center, and the Decoy Carvers Guild are to be applauded for not giving in to fear.
There is no question that the pandemic has taken a toll in lives and the economy but it should not deflate our spirit. In the current environment we need to take note of the many blessings we still enjoy, celebrate our resiliency and take the opportunity to be innovative.
Yes, we all face challenges, as these organizations are encountering but this is the very time of the year when we should take confidence in being a community that will continue and prevail.