Festive magic returns to the Armoury

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The Chatham Armoury will once again be overflowing with the holiday spirit, but in a bit of a time warp this year.

After hosting outdoor events, which included drive-up shows during the pandemic years, Lisa Lester of Four Diamond Events said this time around, she’s gone a simpler route.

Gone are the days the front of the Armoury was illuminated in a festive light show, or live performances that took place out front.

Santa won’t be battling corporate greed as he did in last year’s live show. Instead, he’ll lead dance parties and other fun events.

Having endured very damp conditions and the deteriorated the ground of Tecumseh Park, and very windy conditions that resulted in cancelled shows, Lester opted to move the entertainment indoors in 2022.

Lester said even by shifting indoors, it just didn’t feel right. Admission prices for a large-scale show left her wanting to find ways to increase inclusion.

“What I’m finding, just with the times, is people can’t afford it. We’re trying to make it so it’s available to everyone,” she said. “This year, our focus is solely on raising money to help Chatham-Kent families.”

Four Diamond Events has teamed up with Merry Magic, a group that is focused on helping the Salvation Army and Camp Vincent.

“Their main mission is to feed kids in schools and we are also helping Camp Vincent,” Lester said.

The camp has fallen on hard times as a result of the pandemic. Multiple years of not being able to run camps due to COVID-19 restrictions, followed by a period of hesitancy, has crippled the camp.

“Last year, they only had 50 per cent of the enrolment needed to get back up and running coming out of the pandemic,” Lester said. “So we’re going to send kids to camp.”

Funds raised will also help provide school lunches for children in Chatham-Kent.

Remember the days of Christmas in Muskoka, a weeklong event where patrons could enter into raffles for decorated Christmas trees while their children did crafts and bought presents for their parents?

It’s back, Merry Magic/Four Diamond Events style.

“We’re still going to have Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s going to be more interaction. There will be a Santa dance party. It’s going to be more spontaneous,” Lester said.

Thirty-five companies have donated or sponsored decorated trees for the raffle.

Along with all this, there will be face painting, raffle games, and more.

The special event last for 10 days, and begins Nov. 29 with a preview party for sponsor groups. That’s followed by a Christmas party for the Children’s Treatment Centre. On Dec. 1, Merry Magic opens to the public.

Tree winners will be announced Dec. 9.

For more information, visit merrymagicevent.com.

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