BOYLE — Christmas has officially arrived in Boyle: magic was in the air Dec. 1 as business owners and residents alike lit up the village with festive displays and a strong community spirit to welcome in the holidays.
The second annual Christmas Magic event, held by the Boyle and District Chamber of Commerce, was jam-packed with family-friendly festivities, discounts and deals, and a gift give-away worth over $2,000.
“As president of the chamber, I really encourage people to shop local because it’s these businesses that support your local hockey team, that support whatever it is your looking for a donation (for),” said Terry Mudryk, owner of the Ole Fashioned Station Wellness Centre. “It’s kind of nice to get that support back, instead of Amazon.”
Boyle’s chamber kicked off a “Moonlight Madness” event in 2011, but Mudryk said after interest dwindled and COVID-19 put a hold on social gatherings, the organization pivoted to a new approach.
“Every year we’re just now starting to try to add more to it so it,” said Mudryk. “People were coming from all over, not just Boyle, so it was good to see people here from Thorhild, even Redwater, Athabasca, Lac La Biche.”
“That’s good to see, people supporting local instead of running into Edmonton, so that has been heartwarming,” she added.
This year’s event was an all-day special: family activities such as kids Christmas crafts at the Boyle Library and complimentary hot drinks at the North Corridor Co-op gas bar began at 10 a.m.. Shoppers had the opportunity to try their hands at reindeer ring toss, with the chance to win between five and 25 per cent discounts on purchases at the Co-op home centre.
The Boyle Co-op food store was also in on the fun, providing food sampling and tasting to visitors, as well as in-store specials and prize draws. Event-goers enjoyed barbecued hotdogs at Buy-Low Foods, where Santa helped spread Christmas cheer.
At 4 p.m., both residents and businesses were encouraged to turn on their holiday lights, just as the Village lit up the decorated tree at the intersection of 3 Street and 1 Ave.
And the fun was far from over when the sun went down. Tri-Gen Construction, located one kilometre south of town, had a spectacular display for visitors and passers-by. The Germain family transformed the Tri-Gen yard into a real-life scene straight from Dr. Suess’s 1966 holiday classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!
“People love it, it just makes it feel like the start of Christmas,” said Cindy-Lou Who, A.K.A Allison Germain, co-owner of Tri-Gen. She said the business, started by her grandfather in 1972, has participated in the tradition for quite a few years, and the Dr. Seuss set-up has been a hit with the community, complete with green hot chocolate and cookies featuring a Grinch heart “five sizes too small.”
The infamous green man himself made an appearance, to the delight — and horror — of local kids. Rhonda Ladouceur donned the Grinch costume for the day, and Germain said many other Tri-Gen employees volunteered their time to create the display.
“We just wanted to spread some joy and Christmas spirit in the community,” said Germain. “We have a lot of people that work for us in the community, and so this is just kind of appreciation to them and their families, and to everybody in Boyle.”
Event festivities ran until 7 p.m., and the Boyle Legion served as a hub for locals looking to warm up and grab a bite to eat. “We’re here for the people to mingle and get together and socialize,” said Boyle Legion president Bob Clark.
More than 20 local organizations participated in the event, and Mudryk said her business was bustling throughout the day.
“I want to call it a celebration, because really that’s what it is — as businesses, we really want to show appreciation to our customers,” said Mudryk. “It’s also a way of bringing the community together, and just celebrating with everyone. It’s always good to see, and being able to say ‘Merry Christmas, and it’s so good to see you.’”