Marshmallows roasting over the fire to make smores, Santa Claus riding through downtown in a carriage, the Chemainus Community Concert Band playing endless Christmas treats, hot dogs on the BBQ, market vendors displaying and selling their products.
Those features and more were part of a festive atmosphere created by the Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce Christmas Market and Fundraiser on Saturday in downtown Chemainus.
Fundraisers and spirits for the holiday season were raised on a perfect day. There was a coolness in the air, but the sun came out to brighten the moods and hearts of the residents in anticipation of the most wonderful time of the year.
“The event drew hundreds of people to downtown Chemainus and we couldn’t have asked for better weather,” enthused Chamber of Commerce President Stephanie Ballantyne. “It was moving to see the community come together for this event and all the joy it brought to those who attended.”
Ballantyne added that she was particularly moved by the story of an elated mother who discovered that a carriage ride with Santa was free for her to enjoy with her little ones. It was sponsored by Island Savings and patrons played an integral role in the enjoyment of the free community event, as Roy Summerhayes of Seniors 101 proposed by hosting a Christmas Market to the Chamber board last year.
“This year, we appreciated the additional support of the Chemainus Rotary Club, who added smores to the list of sweet treats and fun activities,” Ballantyne said.
The Chemainus Community Concert Band provided excellent live entertainment, the Chemainus Valley Museum was open to visitors, and 49th Parallel Grocery handed out 300 hot dogs, while Island Savings handed out coffee and hot chocolate.
The generosity of all who participated and donated was greatly appreciated by both Cowichan Neighborhood House and Toys, Toiletries and Toques, the two charitable groups supported by the event.
Kathryn Asp, president of the Neighborhood House Association, noted that $1,472.95 was raised for the organization that day.
He thanked the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary, 49th Parallel and Island Savings, as well as all the vendors and the public for their support of the Christmas Market. “It was a wonderful event, and the weather was perfect,” she added.
Asp wanted to reinforce that Cowichan Neighborhood House is not the food bank that is located next door in the basement of Chemainus United Church.
“We are a volunteer-run, community-based organization and offer low-barrier access to food safety with zero food waste,” he added. “With the help of our partners, 49th Parallel Grocery, Loaves and Fishes Nanaimo, and our wonderful community donors, we are able to supply groceries and hot meals on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. We hope to return to five days a week in the new year.”
Asp noted that the organization also offers youth programming, promotional and service navigation, the popular Friday free shop with household goods and clothing sourced from community donations, the seasonal celebration giveaway program that focuses this year in helping families do their own shopping with gift cards and buses. tickets and continuing traditional on-demand giveaways, skills training programs based on community needs, access to community paramedics and nurses, year-round extreme weather center when conditions call for it, and more.
Asp noted that anyone interested in volunteering can email email@example.com or call 250-246-3203 and leave a message.
“We plan to build on this year’s success and collaborate with community organizations and sponsors to expand the event next year,” Ballantyne said.
The following organizations participated in the Chemainus Christmas Market and Fundraiser: Chemainus + District Chamber of Commerce; Rotary Club of Chemainus; 49th Parallel Grocery; Savings Island; Seniors 101; Chemainus Community Concert Band; Chemainus Valley Museum; Chemainus Vale Messenger; Plows and Petticoats (Kelly-Ann Argue); Santa Claus (Darrell Dale); Chemainus Theater Festival (Santa Claus costume); Little Angels Children’s Boutique (Carol Hodgins) and all the market vendors.
The holiday spirit continues this Saturday, November 26 with fundraisers and craft markets at Chemainus Fire Hall and Chemainus Village Square at the Great Canadian Dollar Store, a special appearance by Santa for photos at Island Savings, and more grilled ’49 hot dogs. Parallel Supermarket.
More events are planned in the city next weekend.
“The old adage ‘it’s the season for giving’ rings true in Chemainus, but it’s a constant throughout the year,” Ballantyne said. “Our community excels in volunteerism and generosity at all levels.”