• 39°

Christmas Craft Show to support Wilkinson Center roof project

BELHAVEN — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Belhaven, starting this weekend with the Wilkinson Center’s sixth-annual Christmas Craft Show. On Friday and Saturday, the community event center will be transformed into a holiday wonderland, complete with 25 arts and crafts vendors from across the state.

The Craft Show, which always falls on the weekend before Thanksgiving, is always a big draw for the community, according to Wilkinson Center Board of Directors Chair Ellen Allen. The event brings both visitors and gorgeous Christmas creations to Belhaven.

“Most of it is all homemade,” Allen said. “We have wreaths, we have wonderful bird houses, jewelry, metalwork, a bake sale.”

The show runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday afternoon and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at 144 E. Main St. in Belhaven. Admission to this year’s show is $1, but for a good reason, according to Allen.

This year’s Craft Show is especially important for the Wilkinson Center, as the building’s Board of Directors has just started raising money to put a new roof on the 16,000-square-foot historic structure. All told, the total cost of the project is estimated at $200,000.

“We’re just getting underway trying to raise the money,” Allen said. “We’ve pieced it together and tried to control the damage a little at a time. … We’ve got a lot of repairs to make to this wonderful venue. It’s just going to take a lot of money to do it.”

For Allen, the desire to preserve the building is a personal mission. She and her three sisters all attended school there when it was John A. Wilkinson High School. Their parents, before they passed away, were also dedicated to preserving the building. On one end of the former school, the Dilday Fitness Center is named in their honor.

“They have since passed away, but one of the things my father made me promise was that I would take care of this building, so I’m taking care of this building,” Allen said. “It’s a very important building to me, and it’s important to a lot of people in Belhaven.”

While the Wilkinson Center serves as an event and wedding venue throughout the year, it is also home to a variety of fundraisers. Of these, Allen says the Christmas Craft Show is one of the biggest.

“It’s a good time to do your Christmas shopping,” Allen said. “It’s a fun time.”

Donations to support the Wilkinson Center’s roof restoration efforts can be sent to P.O. Box 38, Belhaven, NC 27810. The Wilkinson Center is