Christmas coming early

Kickoff to Christmas launches Nov. 21 in downtown Sidney

Sidney’s downtown Business Improvement Area Society is gearing up to celebrate the start of the Christmas shopping season in a big way.

Sidney’s Kickoff to Christmas is a little more than a month away and organizers with the Sidney Business Improvement Area Society (SBIAS) are promising a little bit of wonder to celebrate the season.

Nov. 21 will see the official launch of Christmas in Sidney, says Donna Petrie, executive director of the SBIAS. she and board member Erin Bremner have been planning a seasonal program of events, based around the height of the holiday shopping season. On that day, Petrie said they’re going to have a Christmas Grotto at the corner of Beacon Avenue and Fifth Street near Alexander’s Coffee. This will be a central place where families can visit Santa, get their gifts wrapped and more.

“It’s going to be a magical, festive and fun space to celebrate the season and help encourage more people to come to Sidney,” Petrie said.

The Grotto is just the tip of the iceberg. The SBIAS is encouraging local businesses to stay open with extended hours on Thursday nights. Many businesses, Petrie said, will stay open until 8 p.m. This will coincide with a variety of activities being planned — including horse and carriage rides between 5 and 8 p.m. in the downtown area. Other ideas for the Thursday night shopping extension include carollers, window decorations and more. Petrie added the Town is involved and may participate more closely, but noted it’s early days yet.

“I’ve never seen better cooperation between the Town and what is essentially a volunteer group,” added SBIAS board member Susan Simosko.

Alongside the Kickoff to Christmas, the SBIAS is putting out Sidney’s Christmas Wish Book. Akin to the famous holiday shopping catalog, Petrie said the SBIAS product will feature pages of event schedules, a calendar covering things to see and do across the Saanich Peninsula and more.

“It really will be the guide to Christmas,” Petrie said, noting the Wish Book will be distributed into Victoria as well.

The holiday season, she continued, is an important one, both for businesses and residents. The SBIAS wants to ensure a full experience to people while they visit downtown Sidney.

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