Millarville, Alberta, is a beautiful destination located 22 miles Southwest of Calgary, in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies. It presents you with numerous opportunities to enjoy great outdoor activities and participate in fun community events, like the Millarville Christmas Market.
Since the event began in 1988, it has been on the leading edge of the Alberta art and craft show circuit. This market is the premier Christmas shopping event in the province, and over 17,000 people are expected to attend. It will feature over 250 different vendors, who will be selling just about any item you can imagine. The event is also a celebration of the region’s creative talent as all vendors featured are currently making their goods right in Alberta. The market is ideal for all ages, and features kids themed activities like photos with Santa, face painting, and a Kids-Only Shopping Zone. Food trucks and vendors will also be on hand selling a variety of meals and snacks. Kick your holiday season into overdrive and visit the Millarville Christmas Market! ResortsandLodges.com got the chance to interview Melonie McKee, Millarville Farmers' Market Manager, to talk about this Christmas shopping spectacular.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
MM: The Millarville Christmas Market was established in 1988. It's one of the premier craft and artisan shows in Alberta and we welcome everyone back November 10-13, 2016. We have extended to a four-day event this year! In addition to the extra day, we now have an abundance of additional parking areas surrounding the grounds, with free transportation to the event!
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
MM: Depending on the weather, between 17,000 and 20,000 people.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event? Children? Families? Couples?
MM: The Millarville Christmas market hosts many different activities that make it family, children and couple friendly!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
MM: Set in the beautiful foothills of the Canadian Rockies, the journey here is amazing all on its own. As an Approved market, we do not accept any home based franchise businesses, but only those that have made, baked or grown their products here in Alberta. The selection is endless and the quality is superb! The opportunity to meet the vendors that are making these items themselves is a unique experience in itself and makes your purchases all the more desirable.
RAL: Take me through the activities.
MM: Here is a list of what people will find.
Photos with Santa
Photos with Santa’s reindeer
Kids Only Shopping zone (only kids 12 and under are permitted to shop from the 1000+ items priced at $10 and under, and they come out gift wrapped for their special someone)
Live glassblowing demonstrations
Free hay rides
Face painting and more!
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options?
MM: Attendees can select from our fabulous concession operators, Spolumbo’s, or from the handful of food trucks that will be serving on site.
RAL: What is the environment like?
MM: We are an indoor and outdoor market. Dress in layers to visit both the indoor and outdoor vendors with four heated indoor areas (Arena, Hall, the Quonset and a large heated tent). Have lunch, including soups and snacks from the kitchen, and relax in our gorgeous new covered picnic area.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
MM: We are hosted by the non-profit Millarville Racing & Agricultural Society which has more than 300 members and an additional 300 volunteers providing thousands of hours of time in ensuring our century-old Society can maintain a focal point for the community, the Millarville Racetrack. We support many community clubs and youth groups, including 4H, and our facilities are available for weddings, funerals, reunions and parties.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
MM: Yes, when customers venture out this direction, more times than not, they head to Turner Valley or Black Diamond as well to do a little local shopping, or grab an ice cream.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community? (School funds, etc.)
MM: Yes, profits from the Kids-Only Shopping tent get put back into our community by dispersing even amounts to the five local schools to support their hot lunch program, as well as a local family in need around the holidays.
For more information about the Millarville Christmas Market, please visit their website.