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A Country Christmas Remembered

NOTE: Here is some information about the 2011 event - "Join us at our old-fashioned festival of family fun throughout the village of Spencerville December 2 – 4. You’ll meet Santa, elves, a unicorn and Bear the Tinker, a travelling musician with a special message. Enjoy the clever animals, petting zoo and entertainment at Country Connections and take a rural ramble. And don’t miss the fireworks, starlight parade, Christmas Karaoke, hearty country food and much more. Family Passport: $15; individual $5. See www.acountrychristmas.ca"

Gary

by Festival Nomad, Gary McWilliams

The Passport...

"The Passport in my hand was about to transport me back to a gentler, kinder Christmas, A Country Christmas Remembered!" I had just travelled 3 hours to the Village of Spencerville. Spencerville is located a short distance west of Highway 416 and is not far from Highway 401. It was a cold cloudy day, but fortunately no snow was in sight! When I arrived in Spencerville, I looked for the festival's Information Office. It was located on the main street and easy to find. Inside I was greeted by two friendly volunteers, who fixed me up with my "Passport". With Passport in hand, they told me how to use it and where to go. With this information, I was on my way to A Country Christmas Remembered!

My First Stop...

The first stop I wanted to make was to find Carolynne Jones. Carolynne is one of the festival's marketing volunteers and was the one who told me about A Country Christmas Remembered. Carolynne is also a jewellery designer and maker and was exhibiting at the Spencerville United Church's Bazaar and Luncheon. I found Carolynne at the Bazaar and talked for a few moments. The Bazaar was becoming busier, so I took my leave and left the warmth of the church! I was on my way to explore other festival events.

More Stops...

I decided to make the Spencerville Mill my next stop. The Mill was located at the south end of the Village. I had been told that this was a "special" place, one where children could find Christmas presents for their family. The room where the gifts were displayed was for children and Santa's helpers ONLY! No adults please! This was a great gift buying concept. A magical place, where children could make their own gift decisions! The old building held all the warmth of past Christmases. The large Christmas tree in the centre of the Mill added to the building's ambience. From the Mill, I re-entered the cold and walked back towards the centre of the Village. There, I found the Spencerville Hotel. This building housed the ArtScene Gallery. The Gallery was displaying the works of local artists and artisans. Inside the Gallery hot cider and cookies were being offered! Back outside, across the street in the Village Square, Carollers had gathered. Sweet music now filled the air! I crossed the street to listen. The music was wonderful and certainly transported me back to A Country Christmas Remembered!

Following the Crowd...

After the Village Square concert was over, the Carollers started walking down the street. I decided to follow them. As it turned out, they were headed to the community's public school. This was where the Farmers Market was being held. Inside the building a variety of wonderful "smells" caught my attention! I entered the Farmers Market and started to investigate each booth! I was about to go into "food shock" when I was brought back to my "senses" by angelic voices! The Carollers that I had followed were "on stage" and had begun to sing! I was saved from my own "vices...FOOD"! My next stop was the Spencerville Community Centre. I wandered inside to find a hockey game in progress. The "mini" combatants were skating ferociously from end to end! On lookers in the stands seemed mesmerized! From the Community Centre, I walked to the Drummond Building. As I walked to the building, I passed the Ho Ho Horse Drawn Shuttle Service wagon. People were lined up to take the trip around the Village or to another Shuttle Stop. Inside the Drummond Building, a large Craft Show was taking place. Like other shows that I had visited, I was amazed at the variety and quality of the crafts being offered! As I walked about the show, I noticed a window at the back of the room. I peered out and looked into another building. There were dogs racing through an obstacle course. I decided to check it out. I walked to the side of the Drummond Building and through gates that told me I was entering Country Connections. Inside the building I showed my Passport to 3 enthusiastic young volunteers and the proceeded to the Shake A Paw Dog Agility Demonstration! After watching the dogs perform, I turned my attention to other parts of the building. At the far end the Sunny Acres Barnyard Zoo had set up "viewing pens". I walked to the pens to take a closer look. The animals in them were beautiful!

The Unicorn...

I was about to leave the building when a volunteer asked, "Have you seen the Unicorn yet?" I had to admit that I hadn't, the it hit me! "Unicorn?" I asked! The volunteer said, "Yes, you must see it before you leave!" With that he steered me back to the Sunny Acres Barnyard Zoo pens. He told me to wait where I was for a moment. That he would be right back. He was and had with him, Louise Pilon, owner/operator of the Zoo. Once we were introduced, Louise told me about her Zoo and her fabulous "Unicorn". The "Unicorn" turned out to be a wonderful white Welsh Cross pony named "Merlin". Louise changed halters on Merlin and transformed him into a magnificent "UNICORN"! I was speechless! I turned around to thank the volunteer who had taken me to Merlin. He had magically disappeared. Likely off finding some other unsuspecting visitor to amaze! One of the 100 or so volunteers working to make this a very special event! Not believing that this attraction could be topped, I decided to take my leave of the A Country Christmas Remembered festival. "The Passport that I had been given at the beginning of my Spencerville journey had certainly been magical! It will always be MY Country Christmas Remembered!" NOTE: Had I had more time in the area, I could have taken "Rural Ramble". This was a tour of Farms and Attractions in the area.

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