By Sue Tiffin
Soon after the snow starts falling, Christmas events held downtown and at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre traditionally bring the magic of the season and the community together, with kids cheering for Santa Claus, longtime friends greeting each other in the street, music filling the air and baked goods filling our cheeks.
While like everything else this year, Christmas will look different than in years past, the Minden Hills Cultural Centre and Township of Minden Hills is planning to kickstart the jolly festivities with a Christmas in the Village outdoor daytime event held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and outdoor evening event from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., both on Nov. 21.
Laurie Carmount, Cultural Centre curator, said a German theme has been adopted for the event this year, reflecting the town’s sister city, Minden, Germany.
“They have a famous Christmas market with a huge Christmas tree in the middle, top of which is a beautiful angel,” she said. A large Christmas tree in the middle of the museum grounds will be at the centre of the action both day and night.
“The magic this year continues with this family day tradition,” said Carmount. “With everything located in one place: market, music, baked goods, candy shop and food, the day will be as special as before.”
Visitors to the daytime event will be able to enjoy lunch, made available from the Irondale Historical Society, while Gord Kidd and Friends play traditional Christmas music beginning at noon noon. Santa is visiting from 1:30 to 2:30 and can collect letters at that time.
“We are also offering the Minden Christmas Herald which harkens back to the old days of coupon clipping from the newspaper,” said Carmount. “Filled with local merchants’ specials, this paper will be available for visitors to take away and use for their local Christmas shopping.”
For the past few years, Minden has started the season with an annual lighting of the town – this year, that lighting is moved from the town to the heritage village within the Cultural Centre grounds when at 6:15, the village and the new giant Christmas tree are illuminated. Eric Casper will perform live music at the event, while catering will be provided by McKecks, featuring German sausage, kraut, kettle chips and German beer and wine. Bonfires and hot beverages, holiday mocktails and treats will be on offer.
To host the event during the pandemic, precautions include a button system being implemented at the event during the day, with a total of 100 buttons being available, and a controlled entrance and exit allowing staff to monitor the number of visitors on site at one time. Hand sanitizing stations, physical distancing and a mandatory mask policy will be in place.
Excitement is growing about the Christmas in the Village event.
“When the first promotions started rolling out for this event, we had a really good response,” said Carmount. “The community is looking forward to having an event that is following procedures. It is the beginning of the holiday season and we need joy in our lives. This is a great family event that will have something for all. Even though it has restrictions it will still be fun.”
Volunteers have stepped up wanting to assist with decorating and baking, said Carmount.
“Everyone is excited to have something to do,” she said.
Entry to Christmas in the Village by day is by donation, while tickets for the Lighting of the Village evening are available for $15 per person and can be purchased at the Agnes Jamieson Gallery, by calling 705-286-3763 or at On the Spot Variety in downtown Minden.
Lighting it up
For those singing “there’s no place like home for the holidays,” Minden will be all the brighter this season, as the first ever Minden Hills Holiday Lights Contest brings festive sparkling colour to residences throughout the town.
“Knowing that this is an ‘at home’ Christmas, staff wants to inspire the community to be creative, and have fun decorating their homes,” said Carmount.
Community members are being asked to creatively decorate their property with lights and holiday decor for a chance to win a $150 gift certificate for a local business of their choice.
Interested participants should register by Dec. 1, sharing a photo of the house being entered to add to the Holiday Trail Map, which will be printed in local newspapers and shared online. After a scenic drive, those who take in the sights at the sites will be able to vote for their favourite entry from Dec. 5 until Dec. 13 and the winner with the most votes will be announced on the Minden Hills Cultural Centre Facebook page on Dec. 14.
To register and for more information, visit www.MHCC.blog/lights. Registration forms are also available at the Minden Hills Cultural Centre, Agnes Jamieson Gallery reception, or by calling 705-286-3763.