A popular event, and a sure sign of the holiday season, returns to the Chatham Armoury this year – Christmas in Muskoka is set for Dec. 3 to 7.
It’s a fundraiser to help students in the St. Clair Catholic District School Board attend the Muskoka Woods Leadership Camp.
The cornerstone of the event is the display of 40 designer Christmas trees that have been fully decorated.
People can buy ballots for the opportunity to win one of the trees.
In addition, some of the trees come with extra prizes such as a flat-screen TV or a barbecue.
Shawn Moynihan, chairman of the Christmas in Muskoka committee, said the event has raised $100,000 over the last two years.
The proceeds help offset the costs of sending 300 Grade 7 students from Chatham-Kent’s Catholic elementary schools and 100 students from Ursuline College to the leadership training camp in May.
“It really gives these kids a tremendous sense of pride and accomplishment as a team, and our motive is that they go as Grade 7s and they return to their schools as Grade 8s as a strong leadership team,” said Moynihan.
During their stay at the camp, the students are not allowed to use electronic devices.
In addition to hiking and canoeing, they also participate in several team-oriented activities.
The Grade 11 and 12 students from the Pines act as team leaders.
“It’s just a very powerful leadership enhancement set of activities for kids,” he said.
Christmas in Muskoka is open to the general public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but Moynihan said each day features a special event.
On Dec 3, a seniors’ tea will be held to give seniors a chance to view the trees and see a play – “All Aboard the Polar Express” – featuring students from Ursuline College.
Later in the day, Christmas in Muskoka will host families of the Children’s Treatment Centre for their annual Christmas party.
The grand opening and preview party will be held on Dec. 4 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased from Our Lady of Fatima Catholic School in Chatham.
On Dec. 5, an Evening of the Arts will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. School choirs, bands and soloists will be performing during the evening.
An evening dance will held on Dec. 6, starting at 8 p.m. Moynihan said the adult dance, featuring the O’Hara Brothers Band, is almost sold out. Tickets can be purchased at Our Lady of Fatima School.
The final day features a breakfast with Santa on Dec. 7 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tickets to this event include Christmas activities, crafts, and live children’s theatre (at 10 a.m.).
Admission is $10.
Tickets are available at McDonald’s on St. Clair St. and Our Lady of Fatima School.
The draws for the winners of the Christmas trees begin at 3 p.m.
Also, 1,500 students in J-K to Grade 3 will attend Christmas in Muskoka during the week.
They’ll have the chance to see the UCC theatre presentation as well as participate in Christmas-themed crafts, games and activities.