Christmas tour launched

A group of rural entrepreneurs are encouraging area residents to hit the road for Christmas.

A group of rural entrepreneurs are encouraging area residents to hit the road for Christmas.

Christmas Country Drive is an extension of Central Alberta’s annual Country Drive marketing initiative, which encourages people to visit rural businesses and attractions. This year, Country Drive featured self-guided tours in the spring, summer and fall, with the decision made to add a Christmas tour as well.

Scheduled for Dec. 5 and 6, it will include Arlene’s Teas southwest of Innisfail, Big Bend Market in Red Deer, The Blooming Fields south of Olds, Bowden Pioneer Museum, Care Clothing southwest of Innisfail, Historic Markerville Creamery Museum, Sylvan Lake Farmers’ Market at the Sylvan Lake Community Centre on Dec. 6 from noon to 4 p.m., HolmeHus Antiques and The Farm With the Good Food west of Red Deer, Treasures from the Past near Penhold, and Vitality Crystals and Fountains, and White Creek Leather Crafts, booth west of Bowden.

Susan Manyluk, who operates HolmeHus Antiques and The Farm With the Good Food, said she and her counterparts want to raise public awareness that their businesses remain active despite the arrival of cold weather.

“There are a number of us who are not seasonal,” she explained, adding that rural businesses can be good places to shop for Christmas presents and food.

“It’s available locally, a lot of it.”

Meanwhile, Taste of the Country Drive is planned for the evening of Dec. 3 at the Red Deer County office. Scheduled to run from 5 to 9 p.m., it will feature “food, fun and fashion from the farm,” said Manyluk.

“It’s just sort of being billed as a bit of a party.”

In addition to food items from many of Country Drive’s members, the event will feature clothing and other products, as well as music from the Poplar Ridge Elementary School choir.

Tickets cost $10, and are available at the county office in advance or on the evening of the event.

Country Drive has grown steadily since it was launched in 2004, said Manyluk, and she’s optimistic the Christmas tour will become an annual event.

Additional information about Christmas Country Drive, including route maps, and Taste of the Country Drive can be found on the Country Drive website at www.countrydrive.ca.

hrichards@bprda.wpengine.com

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