Towns getting festive

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Dec 04, 2013 09:58 am

Shirley Mundell and John Attwood dress Belle the Llama up in a robe in preparation for the nativity scene at the Light of Black Diamond celebrations this coming weekend.
Shirley Mundell and John Attwood dress Belle the Llama up in a robe in preparation for the nativity scene at the Light of Black Diamond celebrations this coming weekend.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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The spirit of Christmas is in the air for two foothills communities coming together to celebrate the festive season.

A Christmas market, live nativity scene, skating, photographs with Santa and shopping are among the activities planned in Black Diamond and Turner Valley this weekend.

The festivities begin with a nativity scene at the Black Diamond Gospel Chapel parking lot featuring live animals and church members at 7 p.m. on Dec. 6 and 7.

“It’s our gift to the community to make Christmas real to people who get caught up in the rush,” said Shirley Mundell, a member of the church.

The live nativity scene has brought residents together for about a decade.

Mundell, owner of Kuddly Kountry Kritters, brings a menagerie of her animals including a donkey, calf, horses, sheep and llamas dressed as camels.

In a makeshift village set members of the church dress as Mary, Joseph, shepherds, wise men and baby Jesus and perform a 20 to 25 minute show, which includes singing and story telling. The church will be one of the stops for the hayride during Light Up on Dec. 7

Spectators can enjoy the show on straw bales in the parking lot and snack on hot chocolate and cookies in the church basement.

The event was held in the Lions Park in past years, but the park was damaged in June’s flood.

Saturday morning kicks off with the High Country SPCA Christmas market in Turner Valley’s Flare ‘n’ Derrick Community Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Numerous vendors will offer crafts, gifts and baking items for sale. The event also includes a silent auction, 50/50 draw, a Christmas tree sale, outdoor skating, photos with Santa from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a variety of food selections including a pancake breakfast, smokies and hot dogs.

SPCA first vice-president Susi John said with so few businesses to shop at in Turner Valley the market gives people an opportunity to buy gifts without leaving the community.

“It’s not going to be really pricy so people will be able to afford some nice crafty thing for as little as $5,” she said. “People can have a cider and shop for a Christmas tree.”

Money raised at the event goes to the High Country SPCA’s emergency fund. The fund is used for emergency surgeries pet owners can’t afford or to pay for medicine, immunizations and the spaying and neutering of abandoned and lost animals, said John.

Once the market is over, residents can head east for the Black Diamond Light Up event from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., which offers photos with Santa, hay rides, skating at the Scott Seaman’s outdoor arena (7 p.m. to 9 p.m.) and shopping.

Black Diamond economic development and events coordinator David Petrovich said Santa will arrive in front of Grillo’s Pizzeria on Centre Avenue at about 5:15 p.m. for complementary pictures and the downtown businesses will have their doors open offering specials, beverages and snacks.

“It’s very much oriented toward the businesses,” said Petrovich. “It’s just a gesture of let’s have fun and let’s celebrate together with the businesses. It’s to remind people that our businesses are part of the community… and to shop locally, as well.”

People can check out the deals on foot or via horse-drawn wagons that will circulate throughout downtown with various pick-up and drop-off locations.

Those in attendance are encouraged to count the candy canes on posters around town in the candy cane treasure hunt and bring their count to the municipal office by Dec. 13 to have their name entered into a draw for a prize.

Maps of the activities and participating shops are available at the Santa Claus station, Pharmasave and www.town.blackdiamond.ab.ca


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