If the thought of Christmas hasn't crossed your mind yet and December 25th always seems to creep up and surprise you, or, if you are the polar opposite and are already sporting your Kris Kringle hat around town shouting "Ho Ho Ho" at passing cars, either way, this weekend there is an event to get you in the Christmas frame of mind.
The Chamber of Commerce Festival Of Trees kicks off on Friday, November 16th, at the LRC, with the Leduc County Field House filled to bursting with seasonal decorations and festivities.
Last year was the inaugural year for this event which was very well received by local businesses and the public alike, and from the response they have had since, this year should prove to be even more spectacular.
"Last year we had thirteen trees entered into the festival." said Chamber Director Stefanie Schulz. "This year we have thirty!"
The trees are all a part of the fun, creating a winter wonderland to wander through, as well as some of the trees being donated by local businesses and not-for-profits which will be auctioned off at the Small Business Big Christmas Party taking place on Saturday night. Proceeds from this event will be going towards supporting more than a dozen local charities including Leduc & District Food Bank, Leduc Boys & Girls Club, the Black Gold Health Foundation, and the Christ The King Interact Club to name just a few.
"Yes, the Leduc Chamber is putting on this event, but really, we are just the facilitators." said Stefanie. "We are so proud of how our local businesses have come forward and done this for the community. The support they have given to this event has truly been unbelievable."
The "Elves In Training" from the Boys and Girls Club will be running Santa's Workshop which engages kids with arts and crafts projects, the Leduc Splash Moms will be there hosting a cookie decorating table, Leduc Firefighters will be on hand with their new calendar, and donations for the food bank will be accepted all weekend.
Free photos with Santa will be available as well, just bring along your own camera, with Clarence Shields from Blackjack's Roadhouse, and Thorsby's Mayor Barry Rasch being two of the volunteers donning the red suit.
Leduc Minor Hockey will be running an activity called "Score On The Grinch", with the money raised being donated to Canadian Tire's Jumpstart Program. They decided on this charity as the team has benefitted directly from it in the past.
There is also a Christmas Market with over fifty vendors registered, a balloon artist, magician, caricaturist, and live choirs providing the sounds of the season.
While many of the events taking place on Friday and Saturday are free, a few special events will require tickets to be purchased.
One of the premier ticketed events taking place this year is the Spirits Of Christmas, which takes place Friday evening from 5-10pm. Sponsored by Servus Credit Union, several local liquor stores will be offering tastings of different varieties of beer, wine and liqueurs. "There will be some really unique and high end things that people can try." shared Stefanie. "For instance, instead of having to spend over $200.00 purchasing a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne, if someone has always wanted to taste it, they can purchase a ticket and try a small glass for a fraction of the price."
Another special event geared specifically toward women, is the High Tea & Fashion Show sponsored by Kosmos Restaurant, which takes place on Saturday from 1-3 pm. "This was an extremely popular event last year and we think it will be even more so this year." said Stefanie. "All of the fashions in the show are provided by local businesses, and even all the models are local! We also have some amazing entertainment lined up this year that we are keeping under wraps until it takes place. It's a wonderful event to take your mom, grandma, or daughter to, and I think everyone will really enjoy it!"
Despite all the help, the Chamber team are certainly not resting on their laurels. "The festival is 'all hands on board' for us." smiled Stefanie. "We are there first thing in the morning until one or two the next morning both days. We want to create a magical event for everyone, from little kids to grandma and grandpa. It truly is an event for the entire community."