Journey to the Crown: Soaking Up South Berkeley Christmas Events

By Kaitlin Gates on December 10, 2012 from Journey to the Crown via

I  had such a wonderful time in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle last weekend at the South Berkeley Christmas Events! The weekend was packed with activities that a committee of hardworking, caring people put on each year for their community. It was such an honor to have been invited and involved in the festivities. Even though I am not from Berkeley County, I sure felt like one of their own!
Friday was the most interesting day for me! I got into town around 10:00 that morning and spoke at Musselman High School until about 2 that afternoon. Joining me at this appearance was Summer Wyatt, Miss WV 2007. It was so great to have the support of a Miss WV sister that day and talk to someone who truly understands what the job involves. After that, Summer and I visited a little more until it was time for me to get ready for my first duty of the South Berkeley Christmas Events-- the Guest Reception.
Those of you who know me well, know that I have one big, silly fear! I am deathly afraid of taxidermy.  I do my best to avoid places that I know have mounted animals, such as Texas Roadhouse and am often very cautious when entering new environments in case an animal is near by. I pull up and could see a boar through the window of this building and said a silent prayer to myself hoping that I was in the wrong place. I walk to the door, peeked my head in and said, "Hi! I am Miss WV. Am I in the correct place?" Well, of course, the answer was yes and I was invited in. Inside I wanted to turn around and go home, but as Miss WV, this was my duty and I had to stay.  I knew this day would come eventually in a state that is known for hunting, but I hoped it would be later rather than sooner.
As I walked in, I tried not to look around, but animals were literally everywhere!! In the first room, was the boar I had seen from the window and more deer than I wanted to see. I hurried into the next room only to see a bigger display of taxidermy that included a bear, a peacock, a mountain lion, a coyote, and more deer, just to name a few. I was in for a long night with mounted animals as my date for the evening! Might I mention that I mean no disrespect to the individuals who killed these animals. I am sure they were nicely stuffed, but I chose not to look close enough to see!
The reception was such a nice event, despite the animals looming over me! I strategically chose a seat at my table with my back to the animals so I wouldn't have to look at them. At the dinner were the committee members, guests for the weekend, their families, and entertainment for the evening. We ate a delicious meal of lasagna and visited until it was time for the guests to be recognized and speak. I was given a special necklace for my attendance that weekend, which was so very thoughtful. Thank you to all who prepared the meal for all of us to enjoy, as well as the Butlers for hosting us for the evening! I truly had a great time! (once I got passed the animals in the room!)
Saturday was the tree lighting in front of Musselman High School. I arrived around 6:00 pm and was recognized on stage during the ceremony. This event was unlike any other tree lightings I have been to in that the public had a chance to purchase memory ornaments in honor of someone they love who has passed. Each name was read and family members and friends came up and got their ornament to hang on the tree. Once all of the ornaments had been hung, it was time to light the tree in remembrance of others. This was a special evening and I was so glad to have been invited.
Sunday was the luncheon, 5K race, and parade. Guests and other dignitaries from within the city were invited to enjoy a lunch at Musselman High School prior to the start of the 5K race and the parade. The 5K had about 400 participants! It was so awesome to see so many people come out on a gorgeous day for some exercise!
Perhaps the highlight of my day was the parade. I was so thrilled to have been transported through the parade in a horse-drawn carriage! I had never been in one before, so I was really excited and humbled that the committee thought to do something so special for me. My sincere thanks goes to Mr. Eugene Huntley and his daughter Morgan of Country Roads Carriage for providing me with this special memory! I appreciate your time and effort so much!
My time at the South Berkeley Christmas Events was great! I enjoyed getting to know the other guests, being involved in the events, and kicking off the holiday season in such a special way!  I cannot thank the committee enough for their hospitality, kindness, and compassion for the community. To Barby, thank you so much for capturing the special moments of the weekend and providing me with pictures. To Tracy and Judy, I can't say enough about what you two do! Keep up the great work and thanks again for everything. To Millie, Carla, and the rest of the South Berkeley crew, thank you all for your continued service to your home! The events wouldn't be the same without you! It truly takes amazing people to dedicate so much time and energy to such a wonderful event in the area. With your spirit and heart for Berkeley County, you will continue to do great things. I am looking forward to my return next year as Miss America!  ;)
Friends, please continue to VOTE me as your next Miss America!
Also, get your Team Kaitlin shirt here!

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