Driver cheers for Christmas

Published 9:35 pm Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmas came back to Driver on Saturday, with Santa Claus riding up to the Knot Hole Station store in the chilly evening, on a fire truck that shined bright red — just as bright as the many festive lights in the Driver community.

The evening grew even brighter when Mr. and Mrs. Claus lit the memorial Christmas tree beside the Knot Hole Station. The crowd applauded the festive display, then lined up into the Knot Hole Station and made their way to get photos of their children with Mr. and Mrs. Claus upstairs.

Brought to splendid life by Ryan Mathis and his wife, Kim Duck-Mathis, the Clauses made each child’s holiday evening spectacular. The kids smiled with Santa Claus, told him their Christmas wishes and received goodie bags with popcorn and other treats.

Email newsletter signup

Michelle Brooks brought her children and tons of family friends to meet Santa. They even got a festive selfie with St. Nick to mark another year of a family tradition.

“We’ve come the last four years since we moved to Driver,” Brooks said. “It’s a tradition now for us. My family comes from out of state, and this is our Saturday tradition.”

It’s a tradition made all the more special by the “small-town” charms of Driver, she said.

“For us, there’s something about a small town that makes it magical,” she said.

“Christmas in Driver” filled the village with Christmas entertainment throughout the Small Business Saturday evening. Children met elves and the Grinch, made their own Christmas ornaments at the Simply Vintage store and wrote letters to Santa at Happy Hour Glassworks, all free of charge.

“Christmas in Driver is Driver’s way of the merchants giving back to the community,” said Terri Moore with Driver Events. “It’s our way of thanking them for everything they do for us throughout the year, and for us during Driver Days. This is our way of giving back to everybody.”

Visitors enjoyed hotdogs and cider served up by the members of American Legion Nansemond Post 88, and live music performed by Daniel Clark and Jim and Sandy Allen. Donations were accepted for Toys for Tots, along with non-perishable food items to help the less fortunate.

“We have an amazing turnout. I can’t believe the amount of people that are out here. I think it’s great,” Moore said.

Special thanks were given to the Driver Volunteer Fire Department, American Legion, Boxx Systems and all of the Driver merchants for their support.

Holly Hoffler also thanked her friends and many others in the Driver community that have helped honor the legacy of her late sister, Sherri Parker. The Christmas tree that was lit on Saturday served as a memorial for Parker.

For years, the Driver Days festival in the fall has featured the Sherri Parker Memorial Poker Run and Bike Show, which brings hundreds of motorcyclists to the festival.

Since this year’s event got rained out, the Christmas tree on Saturday was decorated in Parker’s memory, with pictures of Parker, the “best in show” trophy that was made for this year’s bike show, motorcycle decorations adorned with angel’s wings and more.

Hoffler said it feels “overwhelming” how people still remember her sister’s love of life. For Parker, that included Christmas.

“She’s always been a part of Driver, and she always will be,” Hoffler said.