Nothing says Christmas like the appearance of Santa Claus, and this Friday (Nov. 29), we’ll hear it loud and clear when Santa arrives on a fire truck for the annual Christmas Madness community celebration.
Santa is expected at the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Visitor Centre Friday at 6:30 p.m. Santa will arrive on a fire truck and meet with MP Jean Crowder, MLA Bill Routley, Mayor Ross Forrest and council, Area F director Ian Morrison, Area I director Pat Weaver and Chamber directors to help light up the big Christmas tree outside the Visitor Centre.
The jolly old elf will stick around after the tree lighting to take photographs with children under the gazebo at the Visitor Centre. The Lady of the Lake ambassador team will be taking the photos, and all proceeds from the photos will go towards the Lady of the Lake Ambassador Program.
Hot chocolate, oranges, candy and cookies will be available thanks to Country Grocer.
There will also be music, and the Lake Cowichan School grads will have tables with wonderful items for sale just in time for Christmas, according to the Chamber.
During Christmas Madness, people can also place their orders for candles from PartyLites. Thirty five per cent of the funds raised will go toward the Chamber’s programs and events.
Chamber co-ordinator Katherine Worsley says this will be the 19th Annual Christmas Madness, and they’ve changed things a bit this year so that everything takes place at the Visitor Centre under the gazebo and under the big tree.
The focus remains on community and family.
“It is very much family-focused events,” said Worsley, noting that last year, 150 children and about 30 adults took part in the celebration.
Christmas Madness is also the kickoff for the 7 Days of Christmas Shopping Passports, which is in its fourth year.
This year, the Christmas Madness and 7 Days of Christmas Shopping Passports kickoff falls on Black Friday (Nov. 29) and Small Business Saturday (Nov. 30) in the States, and Worsley encourages residents to keep it local and make every day “small business day” here around the Lake.
For Black Friday and Small Business Saturday, a number of local stores are staying open late or holding special events. Stores like Cowichan Fly and Tackle, Copper Lane Fashion Boutique, and Galloping Moon have extended their opening hours to give you more time to find that perfect Christmas gift. The Galloping Moon is even offering complimentary eggnog cappuccinos to keep you warm. The Footwear Centre is also open late and is offering a Black Friday/Small Business Saturday sale.
The Lake Cowichan School Class of 2014 will be selling hot dogs and raising money Saturday outside the Country Grocer between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Thirty-six businesses are participating in the 7 Days of Christmas Shopping Passports this year, and they will be displaying red, white and green signs in their windows. Collect five stamps for your passport at five different stores between Nov. 29 and Dec. 6, then bring your passport to the Visitor Centre for a chance to win one of six $50 gift certificates from local merchants. The draw will take place Wednesday, Dec. 11 at the Gazette office.
To find a list of the businesses participating in the 7 Days of Christmas Shopping Passports, please turn to The Inside Back on page 19.