So today the hubby and I participated in an annual event called Country Roads Christmas. WE’VE never heard of it before but apparantly its a big event around here. We found the flyer for it at the last festival we went to, a couple weeks ago, and I told the hubby to GET THOSE DAYS OFF! 🙂 So he did.
The way it works is that you get a list of businesses and a map to them. They are all in a 2-3 town radius so its not like you are going all over the state. And around here the towns are tiny so its really not bad at all. Anyway, they each have a special flag that hangs outside so you can find them easier when you are close. They’re all decorated up, some had music playing and all of them put out some sort of small snack and drink for travelers.
So you go from store to store and get a card, which you can pick up from whichever store you start in, and you get each store to stamp it. When all of them are stamped, they all have special wooden boxes where you can deposit your finished, or unfinished, card. On Monday, all the folks who organized it get together and draw cards for prizes. If you did all of them you qualify for the grand prize and second prize as well as all the third/fourth place prizes. Unfinished just get into the third/fourth place prizes.
Now mind you, this is not stores like Walmart, or Sears, or places like that. These are all small, local businesses. And around her that means that almost all of them are country themed, antiques, woodcrafts, leathergoods, cheese farms, apple farms, a couple restaurants, alpaca farms, etc. So the shopping, and window shopping, at all of them are a lot of fun and really interesting. It was fun seeing all the same groups of people following the “trail” from store to store. Everyone was in a fun mood, including the store owners, who at one store even dressed up in period clothing for it. It was also nice to see where some of these places were finally. We’ve seen signs for some of them, or see them at various festivals, but never actually went to find their stores. Now we know!
We got 11 out of 15 done. Tomorrow morning we’re finishing it up. You get 2 days to finish, which is good because unless you don’t plan to stop and look around the stores at all, its hard to do in one day without totally exhausting yourself. We were beat as it was by the time we hit the last one at 4:30pm.
I want to encourage people to look for local events like this one to do. It cost nothing besides a bit of gas, you get to see shops you might never have found otherwise and its a lot of fun to meet the owners and other “travelers”. These days, when everyone is out for a buck and charging you for every little thing, its nice to have something fun and holiday-ish to do that isn’t going to cost you anything. And you never know what you will find for those little gifts you just couldn’t seem to nail down. It also doesn’t hurt to support your local shops. I totally support that. And if you own a small business, think outside the box and see about doing things like this in your town, or just to promote your own shop. I never would have known that there is a finish bakery around here, or that there is a quilt shop with tons of material this close to home. (this was important since the walmart idiots got rid of their material/sewing dept. and we’ve had to travel 45 mins away to get material. mutters). And the woman who owns the shop also gives classes in quilting and rug braiding, (I’ve always wanted to learn rug braiding). We now know where the cheese farm whose cheese we always get at local festivals is located. woohoo! We found a beautiful bed and breakfast with a primitives store attached so when we have company we can offer that instead of a motor inn 20 mins away. We found where the little restaurant we’ve always wanted to try is, and found out that it also has 18 ROOMS of handcrafted goods there. (I was in heaven there. lol)
So its good for everyone, shoppers, window shoppers and owners. Tomorrow we have two alpaca farms to visit (ohhhh, lovely yarns…drools), an antique shop and another country goods shop.
Enjoy the season all.