Sundown in Sundre is evolving into a similar yet slightly different community shop local event that has been rebranded as Sundre Snow Fest and is happening on Friday, Nov. 29.
“The business community is planning it more than the chamber is,” said Connie Anderson, president of the Sundre and District Chamber of Commerce.
“We’ll help them out any way we can,” Anderson said last week.
During a chamber meeting held on the evening of Thursday, Nov. 14, the board decided to assist the business community’s efforts. Eight business people attended that meeting and expressed enthusiasm to ensure Sundre would continue to have a holiday shop local event, he said.
“I think it’s great,” he said when asked his thoughts on businesses banding together to take that initiative.
“I hope they come and join the chamber and become active members.”
While the shop local event that also features family activities was spearheaded by keen business community members, the Town of Sundre, the Sundre and District Chamber or Commerce, and the Sundre and District Museum partnered to provide support.
“It’s a great idea,” Anderson said about plans for the new Snow Fest.
“I’m looking forward to being there.”
Moe Fahey -- a home-based business owner as well as a member of the chamber who was hired as the organization’s administrator -- has been assisting the business community to arrange plans for Snow Fest. Events have been lined up for this Friday, Nov. 29, she said.
There are some new aspects being introduced this year. Among the main highlights are photos with Santa, who from 5 to 7 p.m. will be at the Greenwood Community Campground’s new gazebo, which will be decorated for the season with a colourful complement of Christmas lights. Parents will have the opportunity to snap photos of their children with jolly ol’ St. Nick, she said, adding wagon rides will also be offered.
The Festival of Wreaths has also evolved. The wreaths donated by businesses and community members in support of Sundre Santas used to be mounted together along a wall at the Sundre Community Centre. Now, the decorative door displays will instead be featured at individual businesses, she said, adding a map will be available directing people where to find them.
“This is how we’re going to get people going to more businesses,” she said, calling the change an effort to encourage increased foot traffic in participating shops.
Wreaths donated by individuals or home-based businesses will be displayed at the Christmas market at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, she added.
And of course, all of the businesses involved in Snow Fest will also be offering their own holiday specials, she said.
Meanwhile, the traditional Tree of Hope lighting ceremony at the Sundre Hospital and Care Centre starts at 5 p.m., and the museum’s annual Cookie Walk is scheduled for 5 to 9 p.m. Also from 5 to 9 p.m. there will be a Christmas Market at the Catholic church across the street from the Sundre Elks lodge near the museum.
The idea to rebrand the shop local event as Snow Fest in part stemmed from a desire to have a more cheerful theme appropriate to the season. Under consideration are plans to organize a new sundown event in conjunction with Canada Day celebrations when there are even more people in town, she said.
With popular demand for the holiday shop local event and the festivities that go along with it, Fahey said she hopes everyone gets a chance to make the most of it and encourages people to check out the deals that will be available.
“How are our businesses supposed to survive if we don’t shop local?” she said.
“Why go out and buy something you don’t need when there are options locally,” she added.
People often spend a lot on their moms, and there are several options in town to treat her to something special like a chance to relax at a salon or spa with a gift card, she said.
“Most moms can use that kind of stuff,” she said.
“There’s a lot of potential in this little town for our local businesses to make some money on the 29th,” she said.
“It would be awesome this Christmas for people to go to local businesses.”