AUBURN — It could solely be the start of autumn, however it appears the folks of Auburn have already got vacation fever.
On Wednesday, when town introduced it’s organizing a downtown “Christmas village” procuring space this vacation season, officers noticed an awesome response from the general public. The town’s social media pages have been inundated with feedback.
Lower than a day after the announcement, metropolis employees had already acquired 73 vendor functions. As of Thursday, the one Fb publish selling the occasion had been shared greater than 650 instances.
The concept for the vacation market relies on the standard European open-air Christmas markets, the place distributors promote quite a lot of items for vacation presents, in addition to meals and drinks. The markets are standard in bigger cities comparable to Philadelphia and New York, however Mayor Jason Levesque stated he and Liz Allen, town’s director of communications and group engagement, have been dreaming up the concept for a number of years.
“It’s clear folks need this,” he stated Thursday. “It’s been a tremendous response.”
Levesque stated employees talked in regards to the concept for town’s 150th anniversary in 2019 however it in the end didn’t transfer ahead. In subsequent years, COVID-19 took over. He stated now could be “the fitting time.”
“We’re so excited that that is lastly coming collectively,” Allen stated. “We have now had this dream, this idea, for about 4 years now and to see it shaping up — and to see the group’s pleasure after simply in the future of promotion — makes it much more thrilling.”
The market will open Saturday, Dec. 3, as a part of Auburn’s annual tree lighting at Competition Plaza, and can run Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays every week till Christmas.
The Fb publish described it as “small ‘pop-up retailers’ nestled across the Christmas tree. Suppose: cocoa and occasional, distinctive presents, wreaths, vacation music and extra.”
The quantity of curiosity from the general public has already led organizers to rethink some particulars. As a result of they didn’t know what to anticipate, town initially regarded to require distributors to signal on for all three weekends. Nonetheless, Levesque stated that may doubtless change as a result of variety of distributors focused on a single weekend. He stated it is going to permit a larger number of distributors from week to week, engaging buyers to return a number of instances.
Work on the infrastructure for the village, full with a number of custom-made buildings, is underway. In June, the Metropolis Council appropriated $200,000 from its allotment of the American Rescue Plan Act towards modular occasion areas and a kayak rental kiosk.
Requested Thursday, Levesque stated town has bought one modular area, often called an OpBox, which will likely be used for a beverage vendor on the vacation market. A few of the cash has additionally been put aside for at the least six, 8- by 10-foot buildings for the Christmas village. Because of the demand, town might buy extra, however Levesque stated the picket shed-like buildings will likely be adorned and have electrical energy.
He stated they are often reused for the annual New Yr’s Auburn occasion in addition to farmers’ markets.
The Christmas village concept, he stated, is a part of town’s objectives of constructing downtown Auburn “a vacation spot inside southern Maine.”
“It’s a method to assist downtown companies, present a venue for entrepreneurs and produce again group pleasure, and persons are already loving it,” he stated.
For extra data or for these focused on making use of, go to: www.goauburn.me/christmas-village.
In line with the web site, there isn’t a cost for contributors, nevertheless chosen contributors should comply with open throughout established hours.
Among the many greater than 140 feedback on the publish, principally lauding town for taking it on, was a easy one from Linda Provencher.
“It’s about time,” she stated.