A Main Street Christmas in Schomberg, Ontario wins as our favourite fair of the season!
If you missed your local Christmas fair this year or you won’t be getting back home for the holidays, we’ve got your dose of quaint and local small town Christmas decor and flavour covered this year. Guest blogger this week and my dear friend, Kristin Danks, and I hit up ‘A Main Street Christmas’ together this season and have the highlights for you below… including my very first picture taken with Santa! That’s a story for another day but I grew up without Christmas so I finally took advantage of the opportunity!
A COMMUNITY EFFORT
Every year the rich community of our gorgeous sister town Schomberg (which has been the backdrop for several films and television series) puts on ‘A Main Street Christmas’ street fair and it’s just the right size to our minds. Big enough to be worth attending yet small enough for any crowd-hating friends or grinchy husbands to enjoy.
The event is a phenomenal example of a community working together. The organizers are not associated with the Township, contrary to what many believe. It is a collaborative effort by many community groups and organizations, churches, businesses and numerous volunteers and residents, with the Schomberg Village Association at the helm as the presenter of the event.
The community spirit really shines in the hearts of the people who put on this event and the participants. Event Co-ordinators who we contacted about the event told us...
A NOD TO THE PAST & RESPECT FOR ARTISANS
The event also goes to great lengths to maintain an old fashioned flair and goes as far as to encourage people to wear "Victorian" costumes. They do their best to avoid hosting vendors that sell flashy modern products in favour of those that sell local, unique and handmade items. As a handmade business, we here at Rustic Hustle love that and so without further ado, let’s hit the fair…
TOP 7 RESAON WHY SMALL-TOWN CHRISTMAS FAIRS ARE BETTER
1 - Easier on you and safer for the kids
While big city Christmas fairs are exciting, there is always that added anxiety about parking, crowds, and over-stimuli for the kids and you. In a small town, the streets are shut down and events take a more natural, slower pace. We loved walking the emptier streets and it puts you at much-needed ease. It’s freedom. Walk anywhere you want and keep tabs on your kids too. The scale of these events is smaller so they feel like a good amount of experiences without being overwhelming.
2 - Support real people and talented local artists
Think of how much a business needs to invest in order to secure a stand to sell their food, crafts and other products in a larger-scale city Christmas market. If you’re a small business just starting out, it’s very unlikely you’d be able to afford that cost. Small town Christmas fairs are easier for small businesses to participate in, so as a visitor you’re likely to come across quite a few of them and meet the very people who run them! They value you as a customer and truly cherish the fact that you’ve bought something from them to enjoy. The treasures you find are unique and also usually not sold anywhere else, which makes for a great gift-buying opportunity.
Get serenaded and entertained by local buskers and artists and get a great view! We were serenaded by The Upper Canada Chordsmen Chorus everywhere we went. This group of gentlemen are an a cappella men’s chorus, based in Sharon, serving York Region and surrounding communities and they’re lovely singing voices will make even the Grinchiest of Grinches melt! Follow them on Facebook for more information.
3 - Historic architecture is the perfect romantic backdrop for couples
We love the feeling of the holidays in a small town. It has an inherently more interconnected spirit to it that we wish could last all year. It’s amazing how driving just an hour out of the city can be your window into a slower pace of life. It’s already romantic with all the ambient lighting but out here, the lights don’t have any competition. Skip being bombarded by brand advertising everywhere you go and give that noggin a much needed rest with your favourite person. Sneak a kiss while the snow softly descends, sparkling all around you. Will that actually happen at a small-town Christmas fair? We suggest you check the weather for your event to ensure it does! If that’s not on your bucket-list this year, shouldn’t it be?
4 - Embracing the cold can change your attitude about winter
While winter admittedly makes us marvel at how humanity has found ways to deal with living on a rock that is tilted away from the sun, for what can feel like 6 months… we’ve chilled out about it more recently. Pun intended.
Now Leigh grabs her macro lens and gets out there doing something she enjoys; photographing nature and sharing it with our Rustic Hustle followers. A couple of years ago, she started a Pinterest board called “Embracing Winter - Vision Boarding the Season” to find some positive things she could like about it. You’re more than welcome to gain inspiration from it this year as it’s chock full of reasons to embrace the season. We believe winter can be beautiful in so many ways when you make a conscious decision to not be a Scrooge about it.
Follow us on Instagram or Facebook to see more of Leigh’s featured nature snaps: @RusticHustleShop
5 - Unique Christmas gift options and workshops schedules
Small shops spend a lot of time curating their items and tend to carry products from handmade artisans and other small businesses. Hunter’s Woodworks in Schomberg is one of these stores. Besides our signs, they sell Official Annie Sloan® Chalk Paint, reclaimed furniture and some other lovely rustic items that you won’t find anywhere else.
These small shops also offer workshops that you can schedule to attend later with your friends. Learn how to make something with people you love and go home with something you can be proud you made yourself. Not only that, you’ll get some great ideas on how to decorate your own home.
6 - Locally sourced, healthy and farm fresh foods
It's not every day you pass a stand selling freshly air-popped popcorn made from kernels grown in Canada by a local business. We love popcorn, but healthy, locally-sourced popcorn? Huge bonus! It was the perfect light snack as we explored the rest of the Christmas Market.
The two young men running the stand are from Ben's Kettle Corn in Lindsay. Their popcorn was listed as GMO free and completely allergen free. Where else would we have found this great, new and conscious brand? We felt wonderful supporting small, local business too.
7 - Shorter line-ups to meet Santa
Nothing kills the Christmas spirit like impatient children in long line-ups. Christmas is stressful enough already without the whining. Bypass the lines and speed through catching up with St. Nick this season by going where the crowds aren’t. While the line-ups are shorter, it can be a bit colder than visiting Santa at the mall, so make sure you bundle everyone, and yourself, before heading out.
Around this time of year there are quite a few local Christmas fairs and markets happening in your area and they’re really excited to see you attend. These events are organized by the local people of the town where the event is hosted so you’ll get a great idea of the local vibe. It’s a nice way to see how a town you might be interested in moving to celebrates Christmas together. Pencil it into your calendar and you’ll certainly be making a local vendor’s day brighter. Whether you’re on your own, with family, or looking for an event to go to with your girlfriends, it's very unlikely anyone in your party will be disappointed they attended!
Leigh Gordon & Kristin Danks
Kristin is a mom, teacher, writer and avid reader. She's based in Ontario, Canada, but has spent extensive time working, living and travelling overseas. Kristin is interested in eduction through nature and art, as well as environmental sustainability. She loves to support small businesses, especially those centred on food, art and health and wellness. Leigh is a formally trained graphic designer and co-owner of Rustic Hustle, a giftware and sign shop company located in New Tecumseth, ON. She enjoys writing about country living and home decor.