The Chesapeake Village (CV) Luminaries are an annual December tradition. The effort began five years ago by a former CV resident, Karen St. Cooper. Since St. Cooper moved out of the neighborhood, Amber Whitlock and Michelle Weisburgh have taken over the luminary organization responsibilities. Witlock and Weisburgh have seamlessly continued to focus their best efforts on this special event.
When the neighborhood was smaller, this event was a fun way to bring residents together during the holiday season. As the neighborhood grows and people come and go, the luminaries encourage neighbors to gather together to fill the white paper bags with sand and votive candles. Once filled, another group drives around the neighborhood putting the bags in clusters on the corners throughout CV. Then residents grab some of the paper bags and line their streets and light the candles. The next day, everyone gathers the bags back on the corners and they are all picked up.
In the spirt of fun, positive holiday fun, everyone from parents to their (very) young children can be a part of the process. This year, caroling was added to the celebration. Aside from being a beautiful community building event, the organizers also fundraise to support a local charity, so the neighborhood can give back to the community. A charity is selected by vote every year. The event fosters goodwill and generosity.
Quality Built Homes and Sneade’s Ace Hardware continue to support the annual event. The first year, 2010, the money raised went to Calvert Hospice, and included 1,250 luminaries. In the second year 300lbs of food was donated to End Hunger. In 2012, the beneficiary was Operation Hope on the Chesapeake and last year cash and 600 pounds of food went to the K9 Lifesavers. This year will benefit Safe Harbor; cash, clothing, and housewares donations are being accepted.
The Twin Beaches have a strong tie to holiday decorations, and the CV luminaries are becoming part of the anticipated holiday décor. Driving the 3 miles through CV on Luminary Night is simply lovely. The candles inside the white bag glow a soft whitish yellow and is not religion specific. CV is lucky to have neighbors, who not only care about their neighbors, but about the needs of the outside community.
The Chesapeake Village residents are planning on lighting the luminaries on Saturday, December 13, lighting begins at dusk. The rain date is Sunday, December 14. They invite you to drive through the neighborhood and support the cause. Please visit Safe Harbor’s website for information about the organization.
Photographs courtesy of Benson Lau Photography