Community Christmas markets ring in the start of the holiday season

The snow has yet to fall in the Ottawa region, but the holiday spirit is alive in North Grenville as the Kemptville Campus transformed into a Christmas market this weekend.

“There’s a gingerbread man, we visited Santa, got our faces painted … it’s getting everyone in the Christmas spirit,” said Alison Boudreau.

This was the first outing for her family since three-week-old Dana was born.

Along with five-year-old Beckett, they took in the dozens of vendors offering crafts, one-of-a-kind pieces and baked goods from the region.

The event is now in its third year, having started during the pandemic as a way to help local businesses struggling under COVID-19 restrictions.

For Cheryl Beasley’s Simply Baked Catering Company, community support like this was crucial.

“We are a bakery and catering company and for us, there were no events,” she said.

But the future of the Christmas market is in question. While the company organizing it has grown from 13 vendors to more than 200, founder Darlene Collin says it is time to pivot. She says now that restrictions have lifted, there is isn’t much demand for this service.

“I think we did something pretty great over the last few years but looking forward to what’s coming next,” she said. “While we won’t do this exact market, we will come up with something bigger and more fun.”

As many waited to get a photo with St. Nick, there was already excitement over what holiday magic Collin has up her sleeves for next year. 

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