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Holiday season is approaching, and The Barre Partnership is working with local merchants on a schedule of family friendly events, kicking off with Small Business Saturday on Nov. 30.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show Barre pride and support the small businesses within the downtown. Below is a highlight of events the merchants have in store. The World will be publishing the Barre Merry Holidays full calendar of events in the coming weeks.

Small Business Saturday is a nationally coordinated effort that brings together communities in support of their favorite small businesses. This year marks the 10-year anniversary of Small Business Saturday.

“Having a vibrant downtown is an important part of shopping choices all year long. You can experience real life customer service, take part in live events, such as authors and musicians, take advantage of services such as free gift wrapping and interact with friends and neighbors while supporting local businesses,” said Next Chapter Bookstore owner Cynthia Duprey.

In addition, everyone can support their favorite artisans at the The Greater Barre Craft Show at the Barre Auditorium. Thoughtful handmade gifts will be on sale throughout the weekend: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30; and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1.

Santa makes his first appearance in downtown Barre with a stop at Next Chapter Bookstore at 11 a.m. that Saturday, right after a storytime featuring “The House That Santa Almost Missed.” Families are encouraged to stop by to visit with Santa.

Barre’s annual holiday parade, coordinated by The Barre Partnership, will start at South Seminary Street at 5:15 p.m. and head down North Main Street ending at City Hall Park at dusk for the tree lighting ceremony.

Barre’s annual Find The Elves Contest begins Friday, Nov. 29 and will last through Saturday, Dec. 14. Holiday Elves, Barry and Mary, can be found inside participating shops and kids are encouraged to find them all. As always, lots of great prizes will be given away. More information will be in next week’s edition of The World.

On Monday, Dec. 2, merchants are taking part in Cider Monday, a national slow-shopping trend that encourages browsing. Avoid the crowds at the big box stores, and let Barre’s local merchants offer personalized service along with complimentary apple cider.

In addition, Downtown Barre’s Open House takes place on Saturday, Dec. 7, with a full slate of events for families large and small. It includes:

Horse-drawn carriage rides from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Depot Square. Santa makes a second stop, this time to Nelson Ace Hardware. Drop off your letters to Santa’s mailbox at Richard J. Wobby Jewelers, where Step N Time Line dancing will be strutting their stuff. Whimsy Vermont will host a free reindeer food making workshop. And Forget-Me-Not-Flowers hosts a free holiday ornament decorating. Next Chapter Bookstore hosts a storytime reading and cello performance at 11 a.m. And the Barre Partnership hosts a free holiday cookie decorating event from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Said Candice Greaves, owner of Whimsy Vermont, “Christmas is my favorite holiday. It is full of mystery, surprises and magic. Whimsy Vermont is a place that runs on magic and wonder. When I was exploring holiday event options I knew I needed to do something for the reindeer. They are the most important aspect of Santa’s midnight flight. I thought to myself, ‘They must get tired and hungry ... if only there were energy bars for reindeer.’ ... Children get to choose what they put in their special recipe to sprinkle outside before bedtime on Christmas Eve. There’s nothing better than knowing something you made with your own two little hands is being enjoyed by someone special.”

Additional holiday fun continues the following Saturday with cookies, cocoa, story time and more. For more information on these and other downtown happenings during the holidays, contact The Barre Partnership or follow The Barre Partnership on Instagram and Facebook.

We hope you visit downtown Barre this holiday season and have a Barre Merry Holiday.

Tracie Lewis is the executive director of the Barre Partnership.

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