Christmas at Big Sky, December 17+18
The real magic of the holiday season is tradition, which is why the return of Christmas at Big Sky makes us feel so jolly. Big Sky Golf and Country Club once again reclaims its role as the southern outpost of the North Pole this weekend, transforming one of Pemberton’s most spectacular locations into Winter Wonderland, so Santa, when he drops by each day between noon and 3pm, will feel completely at home.
Ice-skating, cross country skiing, arts and crafts, gingerbread decorating, the Story of Christmas, local choirs, a market featuring local vendors and artisans for some last minute Christmas shopping, as well as pictures with Santa allow your family’s elflings to get completely juiced on festive spirit. And for that, you can thank a couple of local movin’-and-shakin’ moms who created Christmas at Big Sky three years ago. The community festival is going strong, with the 4th round returning to Big Sky December 17th-18th, from 10am to 6pm daily.
We pulled organiser Erin McCardle Stiel away from event preparations to ask her a few questions.
Whose idea was this whole community festival? What inspired it?
The event was inspired by the beauty of the valley while eating lunch at Big Sky with GM Chris Wallace and the vision of sleigh-rides and children skating over the Christmas holidays with majestic Mt Currie as a back drop.
How much effort goes into coordinating it?
It seemed like a huge effort the first year… I was 8 months pregnant! But together with a few other Pembertonians – Katrina Ahern, Michelle Lewon, Wendy Brookbank, Tanya Pasenow, and the staff at Big Sky – we pulled it off. Heather Prohaska has been a huge help organising all of the music over the past years, and this year will be contributing with Young Life. For the past two years we have offered this event as a FREE community festival, it is not for profit.
How many people attend each year?
During the two days we see any where from 200-300 people.
After the first one, how did you know you could declare it a success? What motivated you to keep doing it each year?
The festival is now recognized as a annual event. You know it’s a success when the children ask: “When is Christmas at Big Sky?”
What are your favourite parts of Christmas at Big Sky?
Santa arrives each year with gifts for the children. There is also a craft center where the kids can go and create memorable gifts to take home. This year we will be doing gingerbread decorating as well, giving the parents an opportunity to visit the vendors section that feature some of Pemberton’s local artisans. Choirs and instrumental groupings will perform throughout the two days. Full kitchen menu and drinks are also available. At Christmas at Big Sky we focus on making wonderful memories in Pemberton for children and adults alike. This festival has something for everyone.
What shout-outs would you like to give to supporters and helpers?
This year’s event is sponsored by the VOP, SLRD and of course the generous Pemberton
Valley Grocery Store. We have had so much support in the past with local business contributing. Christmas at Big Sky is made possible by Chris Wallace at Big Sky – I really think that the venue is so spectacular.