Port Colborne’s Christmas Festival: The hidden gem that you probably missed
It’s an annual event. It is busy, festive, full of joy and favourite Christmas foods. It is a paradise for kids who are learning of customs that sound to them like legends, sometimes even their grandmothers too young to retell as a witness.
The most important take away, however, are the people you would meet, the people organizing it every year at the beginning of December. Volunteers. Enthusiasts. Local, nice, polite people who are just plain happy to see you.
On a side note: we discovered the Grand Old Christmas Festival of Port Colborne, ON, completely by accident in our first year as new immigrants in Canada. It was 2011, we felt a little bit lost, nostalgic for our previous home, our families who were even further away and back in time and I just did a search for Christmas Fairs in Ontario, Christmas Events or something else as bland as that and Port Colborne’s Museum came up. I didn’t even know how far it was. We used to and we still do live in Oakville, which turned out to be little bit over an hour drive from Port Colborne.
The first year was a revelation. Some of the main hallmarks of this day, traditional in the best sense of the word, are still there today. Friendly volunteers greet you at every entrance. You buy your way in by donating money for the Museum and you get a coupon for a warm, delicious apple cider. Then, as you weave your way through the Museum grounds, you get old-style hot dogs, roasted chestnuts, sliced apples with toffee sauce. You can dip a candle in some paint, kids could have a photo taken with Santa in his special house on the grounds.
This year there was a “make your own wreath” stall added, alongside the traditional “saw your own log off” and then take it to the “smithy” to burn in the date on it as a memento.
But I am getting ahead of myself here. Let me take you on a little journey with me to today’s Grand Old Christmas Festival in Port Colborne, Ontario, Canada. It is the way Christmas should be. This is, of course, just my opinion but over 500 people today seemed to agree. They came in droves, kids of all ages in tow, Grandparents lovingly nudging the little ones towards the next stall where something delicious of old was awaiting them.