As we emerge from the long shadow of COVID, active planning is well underway for many of our favourite major events, including Canada Day, the Harbour Run, the Meaford International Film Festival, and the Scarecrow Invasion. This year, however, there is also an exciting new kid on the block: Christmas on the Bay, which will run December 1 – 4.
Centred around Meaford’s market square, Christmas on the Bay is a four-day European-style outdoor Christmas market that will feature an intimate piazza of 16 wooden sheds showcasing artisan craft and food vendors. There will also be a small covered stage for live music and theatrical vignettes, a bar with local mulled wines and ciders, a seating area with fire pits, endless seasonal lighting, and even chestnuts being roasted over an open fire.
This event will anchor and weave together the existing festive favourites such as theatrical productions in Meaford Hall, the BIA window unveiling, dancing windows, the Christmas tree lighting, and Christmas Craft Market while adding new favourites such as the decorated Christmas tree draws and activities for children at the library and Meaford Hall.
Kimberley Rogers, co-chair of Christmas on the Bay, emphasized the important role of inclusivity as a driving principle in the planning of this event.
“Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, we want everyone to feel welcome. We are also working hard to make sure that the event is accessible and includes activities for all,” she explained.
According to some of our local youngsters, no event is complete without a mascot, so in March the Meaford library staff were asked to come up with the perfect event mascot. After putting their heads together Georgie the gnome was created. Georgie is a playful Christmas gnome with apples on their hat and a canine service dog and companion, Joe, that goes everywhere that Georgie goes. Georgie will be ever-present during the market, walking amongst and engaging with the treasured guests.
“Like any major event, Christmas On The Bay could not happen without the generosity of many sponsors, big and small from across Meaford, the region, and beyond. Each sponsor enables us to add one more special element to this event, but we are especially grateful to Hutton Forest Products, our Santa’s Workshop Premier Sponsor, for the generous support they are providing,” said organizers.
Second, this magical event can only happen with the support and participation of all segments of our community; it is very much an event for the community, by the community. Already there are over a dozen community and service groups working alongside the Steering Committee and Municipality, bringing their strengths, people, passion, and expertise to bear, and this number continues to grow. So, while Christmas On The Bay will serve as an economic driver for Meaford’s BIA and businesses across South Georgian Bay, shining the spotlight on some of our finest artisans and manufacturers, it will also be much more.
There are a lot of reasons to be excited about Christmas On The Bay, when we will host guests from across the region and beyond. For more information or to become a vendor or sponsor, please go to www.ChristmasOnTheBay.ca and prepare to be enchanted!