The annual Seaside Christmas is set for Nov. 16 to 18, giving holiday shoppers a chance to buy local while exploring the Eastern Shore.
Allan Banks is the chair of this year’s event and he takes part with his own business, Harbour Breezes Daylilies. Banks says there are about 23 stops on the route this year.
“It’s the ultimate buy local experience and there’s a huge diversity of what you can buy,” Banks says. He adds that at Harbour Breezes Daylilies, they see about 300 visitors over the course of the weekend, exploring the gardens or buying rum or brandy fruitcake or a holiday wreath.
“It’s really put us on the map at Christmastime,” Banks says. “People are excited about our products.”
Vendors for the event include everything from community organizations and small businesses, to craft markets. Atlantic View Elementary, the Seaforth Community Hall and the Musquodoboit Harbour and District Lions Club will host several artisans and vendors who are selling locally produced wares.
Hope for Wildlife in Seaforth will be open for tours, where guests can learn about the animals or purchase a gift from their shop. Other vendors include antique shops, a tattoo parlour and art galleries.
A number of bed and breakfasts and restaurants will be open, so visitors can make a day or weekend of the event.
Seaside Christmas got its start in 1990 when a few businesses on the Eastern Shore decided to organize an old-fashioned Christmas event that would bring holiday shoppers to the area.
The event is now organized by the Seaside Tourism and Business Association, which promotes the businesses and events on the Eastern Shore.
Businesses and organizations that take part in Seaside Christmas pay a fee and take on a role in organizing the event.
Some of the vendors are new to the event this year, like The Harbour Brewing Company in Musquodoboit Harbour, which opened its microbrewery this year.
They will be handing out samples of their craft beer, or you can purchase or fill a growler to take with you.
Paul Nicholl, who owns Dobbit Bakehouse in Musquodoboit Harbour, has been taking part in Seaside Christmas for nine years. Nicholl and his staff are working on new cookie and chocolate recipes for the event and they will be selling stollen, traditional German Christmas bread made with rum-soaked raisins, almonds and marzipan.
He says the event introduces the Eastern Shore to visitors who may never have been to the area or understand how close it is to the city.
“A lot of people don’t realize Musquodoboit Harbour is closer to Halifax than Tantallon is,” he says. “They can see there is more to this area than they thought.”
The route will include numbered wreathes. Visitors can pick up a ballot at each location, with each ballot giving them a chance to win a prize.
Event hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., unless otherwise stated. Not all vendors will be open on Friday, Nov. 16. For more information on Seaside Christmas, find it on Facebook or visit seacoasttrail.com, where there is a map of the vendor locations.