Aberdeen’s Winterfest is undergoing some healthy changes this year in light of the pandemic.
The fifth annual celebration will run from Nov. 27 through Dec. 5 with a virtual holiday market, an online gingerbread house competition, a Santa visit via Zoom, and more.
Co-chairwomen Bette Worth and Bobbi McCracken asked Rick Moyer, owner of Moyer Multi Media, to help them plan specific events with minimal physical contact. “He’s been a godsend for us,” said Worth.
Moyer and his company set up the Winterfest website (winterfestaberdeen.com) and will coordinate the virtual Holiday Market as well as a Zoom session with Santa. He also will take and post photos of each gingerbread house contest entry so people can see them online.
“I jumped on board because our town needs to celebrate, but we don’t need to get people sick,” he said. “So my motto is: Spread the word, not the virus.”
The virtual Holiday Market will open Friday and run through Dec. 5 on the Winterfest website. McCracken posted Winterfest on EventBrite to get the word out, and as a result she has received inquiries from vendors across the nation looking to offer all manner of mostly handmade gift items.
“We even have a vendor from Scotland,” said McCracken. “We won’t have heads in beds for lodging tax, but we can say our advertising is now global!”
The second annual gingerbread house competition also will have an online element for the community. This year’s entries will be displayed both online and in the front windows of the old Goldberg’s Furniture building, 110 W. Market St. in downtown Aberdeen.
80 Gingerbread houses
Eighty gingerbread house building kits were purchased and donated by a couple of local benefactors for those who wish to compete. The south-side Swanson’s and the original downtown location of the Tinder Box will be handing them out starting Nov. 17.
Contest entry forms are available through the website. The gingerbread houses must be submitted between 2 and 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec 3, at the Goldberg’s building. Judging will take place early Dec. 4, with cash prizes to be awarded. The entries will remain on display through Dec. 19.
Breakfast with Santa
The annual Breakfast with Santa also has been scaled back to limit physical contact. Instead of sharing a meal, Santa will speak with families via Zoom by appointment between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Dec. 5. Those details will be posted on the Winterfest website as the date nears.
Worth said they did want to address concerns voiced by local business owners that a virtual event wouldn’t bring people downtown. So, like last year, several downtown shops will be giving away merchandise.
Each participating shop will offer a gift certificate or product to be raffled off. For example, Marshall’s Garden & Pet is giving away a “rain chain” with little copper cups. Visitors between Friday and Dec. 5 can fill out a ticket at each shop to enter the drawing.
A list of participating stores and their offerings will be available on the website.
Doughnut snowmen — doughmen
In addition, Aberdeen High School students have created 1,000 individually packaged snowmen out of powdered doughnuts. They are being used to promote Winterfest and will be available at participating downtown shops starting Nov. 21.
In the meantime, preparations have already begun. The Goldberg’s front display area has been decorated in anticipation of the gingerbread houses to come, and Aberdeen art students were expected to be out painting snowflakes on downtown windows Saturday, despite the weather.
For updates and more, visit winterfestaberdeen.com.