MONTPELIER — It’ll be just like old times Saturday during Montpelier’s Olde Tyme Holiday Gathering.
The gathering was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will be back in full force this year, and organizers say it feels good to be back.
“Last year, we kept waiting to see if any of the mandates would change,” Kara Custar, parade chair, said. “We were trying to be hopeful up to the very last minute that we could do something and it didn’t work out. That was probably the most disappointing because we were so used to having Santa there... not having that community activity. It’s nice to be back and be able to do something the community enjoys.”
The 15th annual event will run much of the day, starting at 10 a.m. with a crafts and gifts show lasting until 3 p.m. at Montpelier Exempted Village Schools.
Masks will not be required and both the front and back entrances will be unlocked.
“We have 132 vendor spaces and that’s right around 80 vendors that are coming. Some of them have double or triple booths because they have so much product to bring,” said Michelle Kannel, craft show organizer.
There will be a little bit of everything, she continued, including direct sales companies like Pampered Chef along with holiday crafts, various decorations, floral arrangements, jewelry and more.
Many of the vendors were already registered for last year’s event and their registration simply carried over into this year, meaning many vendors are returning from prior years.
“The vendors are super excited,” Kannel said. “It’s exciting that both people want to come and shop and also participate in the show.”
Other events will be happening around town with local shops and eateries open. Montpelier Trackside Modelers Railroad Club will also be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Montpelier Parks and Recreation Department is teaming up with the Montpelier Public Library to provide free cookie and craft kits for kids up to 12 years. That will happen between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
The main event will be a parade at 6 p.m. featuring tractors, horse-drawn carriages and other vehicles all lit up for the season.
“We’re always open to seeing different things decorated,” Custar said. “Like our local Lion’s Club, they decorate an all-terrain vehicle with lights and signs and they take that through.”
There’s no deadline for entry, either. She said people can show up at the parade start point, the Williams County Fairgrounds, and fill out paperwork.
From the fairgrounds, the parade will go down Main street and turn on Jonseville Street to get back to the fairgrounds.
“We have Santa leave a little before everyone else so he can make his grand entrance,” Custar said.
After the parade will be the Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony with an opportunity for kids to meet with Santa and a Polar Express Experience at the House of Prayer at 5:15 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 7:15 p.m.