The holiday season is in the air in Charles County as several historic and contemporary sites come together once again to form the 2014 Holiday Trail! Working behind the scenes to coordinate the effort is Kate Zabriskie, who came up with the idea in 2012 as a creative way to promote tourism in Charles County. Her vision was quickly embraced by local organizations and has been gaining popularity ever since. As part of this week’s Friday Focus, Kate spoke with us about the trail and provided details about how and when to go this year.
Q: Tell us about your organization (who you serve, etc.).
A: The Charles County Holiday Trail is composed of historic and cultural sites in Charles County. The purpose of the trail is to share these landmarks with locals and visitors alike.
The participating landmarks include:
- The African American Heritage Society
- Mount Carmel of Port Tobacco
- Historic Friendship House
- Kris Kringle Christmas Market at the Charles County Fair
- Mattawoman Creek Art Center
- Mount Aventine at Chapman State Park
- Smallwood Retreat House
- Thomas Stone National Historic Site
- The Port Tobacco Courthouse
We are also excited to welcome several new sites to the trail this year, including:
- Thomas Manor at St. Ignatius Church
- Maxwell Hall
- Serenity Farm
- Christ Church Port Tobacco Parish
- The Veterans Museum
- Stagg Hall and Burch House in Port Tobacco Village
Q: What has been your favorite “moment” (example of how your organization helped)?
A: The Historical Society of Charles County has stepped in as the umbrella organization for the event. The County’s tourism office has also gotten behind the effort and sponsored the brochure design and printing. It is exciting to see a little idea quickly grow into something that can be sustained for years to come.
Q: What is your biggest challenge?
A: The biggest challenge is getting the word out. People from the County will tell you they haven’t been to some of these sites in years—or ever, for that matter. For those new the County, many don’t even know these places exist.
Q: How can people really help?
A: The public is invited to visit the sites the weekend of December 5-7. They can also visit our website, where they can connect with us via social media. Additionally, businesses, organizations or individuals can include this informational text in newsletters, Facebook posts, etc.
Q: What advice can you give someone looking to work at a non-profit?
A: Realize that nothing is below you. At some point, you will probably end up cleaning dirty bathrooms before an event. On that same note, however, there will usually be more to do than you can ever get done. Choose what you will work on wisely. Always be in recruit mode and never forget to say thank you!
Want to experience the Holiday Trail for yourself? Here’s what you need to know:
The trail begins on Friday, December 5 with the Kris Kringle Christmas Market at the Charles County Fair. Admission is $1 or one nonperishable food item. All admission will go to the Southern Maryland Food Bank. Modelled after the markets in Germany, visitors can expect plenty of food, lights, greens, art, music, shopping and a living nativity.