By Allan Banks
The 29thannual Seaside Christmas shopping event, sponsored by Seaside Tourism & Business Association (STBA), takes place this year on November 16th, 17th, and 18th.
This event began in 1990 as a way of promoting ‘Buy Local’, specifically, on the Eastern Shore. Edyth and Dave Shuman and Adrien and Norma Blanchette put their heads together around the Shuman’s dining room table and came up with what they called “Seaside Old Fashioned Christmas.”
From great beginnings in 1990 with ten different businesses participating, the event prospered. In following years, the number of business participants was capped at twelve, with the idea that shoppers would visit all twelve. For the second year of operation, Keith Colwell was instrumental in having a video produced about the event. Participants were very proud of the video and it was shown on Eastlink for many years at Christmas time.
As Seaside Christmas became more well-known, it was very successful with 600-700 people coming into some businesses over the weekend. Over the years, many small changes occurred and eventually the event became part of STBA’s annual events. Most recently, the name was changed to “Seaside Christmas.”
There is no longer a cap on the number of participants in the event. However, any business that wants to participate must pay a fee and attend registration night near the beginning of September. Then participants have to get busy with their assigned tasks to make sure that the event runs smoothly. Any business or group can participate as long as they pay the fee and agree to help out with a task and be open for at least 2 of the 3 days.
Making sure that Seaside Christmas happens every year requires many volunteer hours. Money raised for the event goes towards printing a brochure/map that lists all of the venues. Funds are also used to advertise the event in an effort to make sure people on the Eastern Shore and beyond patronize the local businesses and groups that participate. The event runs on a break-even basis.
This year there are 23 different locations along Hwy #207 and Hwy #7 and many of the side roads along the way. Venues extend from Lawrencetown to Lake Charlotte. Several of the locations have multiple vendors in one place, so there’s a large selection of unique Eastern Shore gift ideas.
For complete details, see our ad and visit the STBA website (seacoasttrail.com) to download a map and list of participants, then follow the numbered wreaths and help support local businesses by buying local this holiday season. Please help us spread the word by liking and sharing our event page on Facebook!