At Port Moody’s Station Museum, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Well, at least in the mind’s eye of Kathy Heisler.
The long-time local resident and entrepreneur has been given the green light to organize Port Moody’s first Christmas market that will encamp in the museum’s parking lot from Dec. 1 to Dec. 24.
And while the holiday season is still two months out, Heisler’s already envisioning the giant tent that will keep merchants and visitors dry, the garlands of holly and strings of twinkle lights that will bring a Christmas glow and the mugs of mulled wine and live entertainment that will create a festive vibe.
Heisler, who runs EcoFair Trading, said the time is right for Port Moody to kick its Christmas celebrations up a notch.
After months of COVID-19 anxiety and public health restrictions keeping people at home and limiting their social interactions, she’s confident holiday gatherings and seasonal events will be embraced anew this year with most people fully vaccinated against the contagion and safety procedures ingrained in our daily routines.
“There’s a pent-up demand for people to get together,” Heisler said. “They want to participate in something.”
For the museum’s executive director, Jim Millar, the month-long event represents a way to bring visitors right to the doorstep of Port Moody’s history, as well as raise some money to support its programs from proceeds of admission donations to the market.
He said previous partnerships with events like a night market on summer Fridays have resulted in a boost to attendance as people return to explore its many exhibits.
Heisler said the market will be modelled after traditional European Christmas markets, but instead of having merchants ensconced in wooden booths, they’ll have table space beneath the expansive open-air tent that will be surrounded by cedar trees.
Using connections she’s already forged through her eco-friendly fair trade import business, she expects about 40 local vendors will be on site daily, offering everything from winter clothing to decor, candles, rugs, tapestries, jewelry and holiday flower arrangements.
A food truck or two is also expected, and she’s working on getting the venue licensed so visitors can walk around with a mug of mulled wine or a cup of cold beer while they do their Christmas shopping.
Combine that with the proximity of nearby Brewer’s Row and whatever Christmas light display the city has planned for Rocky Point Park and Port Moody’s downtown waterfront has the potential to become holiday season central.
“There’s really nothing like it in the Tri-Cities,” Heisler said. “It’s going to be this nice, quaint, festive event.”
To find out more about the festival, or if you wish to participate as a vendor, you can visit the holiday festival’s website.