’Tis the Season returning to Glenboro

Glenboro’s ’Tis the Season event will be making spirits bright again this year with a celebration that is set to be even bigger than last year’s inaugural event.

With no COVID-19 restrictions in place this year, the Dec. 3 event can fit in even more activities, said Sara Smith, one of the organizers.

Glenboro hadn’t had a Santa Claus parade or other holiday festivities for a few years when the idea to try to bring them back came to Smith during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I remember as a child in Glenboro we used to have the Christmas parade and then in the afternoon we’d have a Christmas movie at the theatre in town. Santa would always make an appearance and you’d get a goody bag, so I kind of thought, why don’t we try to bring the parade back?” Smith said.

Showcasing the community’s local and home-based businesses, who had been hit hard during the pandemic, also motivated Smith to get together with a group of other dedicated volunteers.

“We’re a small community and we have a lot of local makers as well, so we kind of had this idea … that it would be nice to kind of bring them together and spur the Christmas spirit on, because [the pandemic] had taken a toll on everyone.”

Despite pandemic restrictions, last year’s event brought plenty of holiday merriment to the community, Smith said. Businesses got to advertise special holiday sales, local makers got together in the community hall to showcase their goods, and several non-profit community organizations, such as the Royal Canadian Legion No. 71 and the Glenboro Agricultural Society, held different fundraisers.

“It was the first day in I don’t know how long that I saw the community come out. There were people walking the streets, everyone was going from business to business, everyone was happy and in good spirits.”

The highlight of the day, Smith said, was the parade, which delighted people of all ages.

“The streets were lined with people, whether they were in their vehicles or standing on the roads … I was just taken aback by how good it felt to see normalcy again last year.”

People began asking Smith if the event would return this year as early as September. She was pleased to tell them that it would, and that this year’s event has taken on a whole new look, with many more fun features for people to enjoy.

Participating businesses will once more feature holiday sales and deals, and from noon to 4 p.m., there will be a craft sale and trade show at the Glenboro Community Hall. There will also be a cake auction, put on by the Glenboro Agricultural Society, at the same time, with the Legion selling hot apple cider and hotdogs. A local photographer will be set up in one of the storefronts to take holiday photos of families and pets, and a portion of the sales will be donated to the Sarah’s Pantry food bank.

Weather permitting, sleigh rides will be given, and a bonfire will be held so people can warm up, Smith said. At two in the afternoon, a kid’s movie will be shown at the Glenboro Gaiety Theatre.

“Santa will come over and say hi. Kids get a free admission and a goodie bag,” Smith said.

The parade will take place at 5:30 p.m., and then at 7 the theatre will be playing “Black Adam,” the new Marvel movie featuring Dwayne Johnson.

“We’re able to offer the first 50 people through the door for that movie free admission,” Smith said.

Planning this year’s event was a labour of love for Smith and the other volunteers, but last year laid a good foundation for them to build upon, she said.

“I knew it went over well so it was easy to kind of get the rest of the businesses around town on board again,” she said. “I had a list of local makers from last year that came out, so I reached out to everyone again, and I had new people on board.”

Smith was quick to point out that her fellow volunteers have been working hard behind the scenes this year to make the event another success.

Tanya Drinkwater, who works with the Glenboro Community Development Corporation, said the organization tries to do something every year to liven the community up around Christmastime and bring attention to local businesses.

“So many people tend to go shop at Walmart and the brand-name stores, and that makes it hard for smaller communities with small businesses to thrive,” Drinkwater said.

The event also gives a chance for people to support local artisans while finding one-of-a-kind gifts, Drinkwater said.

“Through the pandemic, there was a shift to homemade and online shopping. A lot of people looked at the small-town businesses who created their own items, and we had some good success with everybody, from pottery … to knitted toques and mittens.”

Having ’Tis the Season become a regular tradition that happens every year in Glenboro is the goal that Smith, Drinkwater and the other volunteers hope to see happen.

“What we really want to try and do is to just kind of make it a big community thing and see everyone happy and supporting those non-profit organizations,” Smith said.

Miranda Leybourne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun