Gagetown overflowing with people for Christmas in the Village
An annual event is helping bring huge crowds into a small New Brunswick town to see the impressive work their artistic residents are churning out, providing a much-needed boost to the local economy outside of peak tourist season.
The picturesque Village of Gagetown located about a half hour outside of Fredericton steadily draws tourists during the summer season as people arrive from all over to walk the streets, look through the shops and take in the view of the river running along its main street.
While they see a spike in numbers during the warm months, one event, just before the winter gets going, brings in a massive crowd for two days year after year.
“Christmas in the Village is an unbelievable event,” said Andrea MacDonald, one of the co-organizers. “It’s just that feeling of warmth, everybody’s in a good mood and it gets you in the Christmas spirit.”
“You just have to come to experience it,” she said.
MacDonald says the now 20-plus-year event provides the arts and crafts community, along with local restaurants and museums, with a big boost ahead of the Christmas season, and gives those looking for unique gift ideas plenty of great options.
“You’ll find many different artists with different abilities, skills, different crafts that they produce that you can’t find at every other house you go to or every other shop you go to,” she explained.
MLA Ross Wetmore has been very outspoken about the town’s loss of their ferry system, a major tourist attraction that stopped running in recent years.
He applauds the organizers who help make sure the village is filled with people at an otherwise slow time of year.
“We draw people from the Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John area so it’s just one of the many things that help drive the economy in the village,” he said.
For the last few years, on behalf of the Rotary Club, Wetmore has spent some of his time at Christmas in the Village raising funds for Shelter Box, a service that provides those in need with pots, pans, bedding and clothing.
The Rotary Club takes donations and sells apple cider to raise the necessary funds to help out.
It’s a program he believes embodies what the Christmas spirit is all about.
“It includes everything a family needs to live,” he explained. “They’ve gone to Dominican, Turks and Caicos, Italy, Serbia, the Himalayas.”
Christmas in the Village wraps up Sunday at 5 p.m.
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