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Christmas arrives early at Presqu’ile Park

By Charlotte McParland  [11]

BRIGHTON – As stores and businesses amp up for the holidays, so is Presqu’ile Provincial Park [12] just south of Brighton.

The event, Christmas at Presqu’ile [13], lasts for five days – this past Saturday, Sunday and Wednesday, plus this coming Saturday and Sunday – from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The park has a Christmas House with over 150 Christmas arts and crafts, a tea room with holiday drinks, an art gallery and daily shows.

The welcoming and happy faces at the event are sure to get you in the mood for the holidays.

Close to 200 people attended on Wednesday. It was a foggy and misty but successful day for the park.

This year is the 24th annual event, and Linda Collins, chair of the Friends of Presqu’ile Park [14], said last weekend’s turnout – there were 1,800 visitors on Saturday – was the largest ever.

The Christmas event is the most successful of the year at Presqu’ile, Collins said, and the favourite of everyone at the park. It gears everyone up for the holidays and says goodbye to another year at the park. It is also the Friends’ largest fundraiser, she said.

Collins’s job at the event is mainly to check the merchandise that’s for sale to make sure everything is good quality.

This year there are 150 different vendors from everywhere in Ontario, she said.

When QNet News arrived at the park, there was a short lineup of people underneath a tarp waiting to enter the Christmas House. Three volunteers were handing out peanut brittle for everyone waiting in line and describing other aspects of the event.

Each room in the Christmas House has a different theme or scent. Some feature hand-sewn or knitted clothes and handcrafted linens; there are also soaps and holiday foods, blankets, decorations, hand-carved objects, jewelry and jams and jellies.

After the Christmas House, guests were directed toward the Tea Room, a heritage home decorated with Christmas lights and trees that offers homemade rum cake, apple cider, hot chocolate, teas and cookies.

About half a kilometre down the road is the Lighthouse Art Gallery and interpretive centre.

With Christmas lights around the artwork, and artists at work, the centre was filled with painting after painting of landscapes, animals, portraits and many more.

Prince Edward County artist Linda Barber said she has been coming to Presqu’ile for 10 years.

“It’s my favourite show, and it’s such a wonderful park with so many supporters. I’ve been very successful here because it’s such a good show, and right in my area,” she said.

Barber paints mostly landscapes featuring birch trees. Fellow artist Doug Comeau [15] of Frankford creates graphite and coloured-pencil paintings.

Comeau says he has been attending Presqu’ile’s event since 2000 and tries to show a unique side of painting that many have never seen before.

“My favourite part is seeing all of my customers all the time here. A lot of people here have my work, and it’s great to see old and new faces time after time,” said Comeau.

With artists painting throughout the Lighthouse Centre, lights strung across the park and the changing colours of the forest leaves, Presqu’ile is a holiday stop for all ages.