The large A&P grocery store ad on page A-5 of the December 2 issue of The Spirit of Jefferson-Farmers Advocate from 1971 brings back memories. Four loaves of bread for a dollar, pork chops at $1.09 per pound, but also a note from the grocer apologizing for having been out of stock on so many items and celebrating a “Back to Normal … Sell-O-Bration” — it was a year of economic turmoil, with the Nixon administration imposing wage and price controls in an ill-conceived attempt to control inflation. The article above the advertisement notes that the stores of Harpers Ferry, described as a “quaint old village,” will be illuminated by candlelight, and “clerks will wear period costumes and carolers will stroll the street” for an “Old Fashioned Christmas” event.
Inflation has been up and down, bread is now closer to four dollars per loaf, and the last A&P store closed in 2015, but Harpers Ferry and Bolivar have been remarkably consistent in celebrating Christmas every year for the past five decades. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced some changes this year, but the Merchants Association is keeping the tradition alive.
Events are currently scheduled for the weekends of December 5-6 and 12-13, including craft demonstrations, wagon tours, costumed performers strolling the streets in Lower Town, and visits (at a distance) with Santa & Mrs. Claus in the gazebo in Upper Town.Staff Contributor