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History and Holiday: A Match Made in Heaven



Long-steeped in history, Perquimans County has been celebrating holidays like Christmas for the duration of its 400 years, and the bold flavor of the season shows no signs of fading.


Some centuries-old traditions remain unchanged; like receiving an apple, an orange, and a chocolate bar in a brown bag when you attend church on Christmas Eve. You can even attend a Colonial Christmas at Newbold-White House (the oldest brick home in NC) and experience how Colonial Quakers celebrated the joyous season; yule log, hot mulled cider, and carols included.


Other customs remain, although slightly adjusted for the modern culture. Battery-operated candles replace real candles in windows for convenience and safety's sake.


One enhanced tradition that is winning the hearts of locals and visitors alike is the Perquimans Festival of Lights, located in historic downtown Hertford, NC. Every night throughout the month of December, friends and family members can gather at the second oldest courthouse in the state to enjoy a display of Christmas lights that dance and flash along to their favorite Christmas songs.


Friday and Saturday evenings also include special guests like Santa and The Grinch, hot chocolate, and other sweet surprises. A couple of other favorite features are a Christmas tree that displays patterns and graphics that correlate with the current song playing, as well as a snow machine that fills the air with the most magical appearance of snow flurries. Snow isn't common in this region, and children squeal and dance when they discover it resting on their noses and in their hair. The light show can be enjoyed nightly from 5 PM - 10 PM.


The Perquimans County Courthouse was built in 1825, and since then retains every ounce of its original charm. Interior shutters adorn the windows, interior chimneys and original mantels grace the gable ends, and its double door entrance is framed by moulded columns.


The seasonal additions to this precious piece of history will disappear at the end of every December, but the precious memories made here by children, families, and staple community members will never fade.


Visit Perquimans would like to give special thanks to Sheriff Shelby White for his vision and County Manager Frank Heath for his support in bringing Perquimans Festival of Lights to life. We thank the McKecuen family for their tireless efforts to construct the display. We also thank all of those who have volunteered their time and talent to make this vision a reality.

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