COLUMBIANA, Ohio — Thousands of shoppers are getting a head start on the holiday season at an annual event in Columbiana.
Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Woods is back for its 26th year, and the COVID-19 pandemic is not stopping this tradition.
Michele Burick said she enjoys spreading Christmas cheer with her hand-crafted characters.
“We have fun just dressing them up and making them look special for everybody,” she said. “And this year, we included the masks, so that they were doing their part.”
Her fabric figures, and everyone else, wore face coverings while shopping the stalls.
“It’s a little more challenging this year,” said Kenneth McGaffic, event owner. “Because what has happened is we’re limited by the health department as to how many people we can have coming into the woods.”
Some shoppers waited more than an hour for the chance to browse the more than 200 vendors.
“It’s crazy,” said Liz Powell. “There’s a lot of people and a lot of people waiting to get in. There’s a lot of nice stuff here, though.”
Each searching to find something on everyone’s wish list, from sweet treats to crafts. All made by hand.
Even though this year’s event was not advertised because of the pandemic, folks flocked to the event grounds.
“We have people that come from over 30 states that come to attend the event,” said McGaffic. “It’s become a tradition for people.”
Signs posted throughout the space reminded people ’tis the season for social distancing.
“I anticipated a lot of people,” said Kelli Law. “I didn’t anticipate this many people.”
Some shopped for themselves, while others were just looking forward to looking around.
“Probably be with family a lot this holiday without visiting so many,” said Law. “So, stuck at the house, at least decorate my house up.”
The event was also a chance to share quality time with loved ones.
“Remember what they say, ‘Happy wife, happy life,’” said Gary Fordyce.
Everyone who attends is happy to find something special.
“Right now there’s a group of us looking for that moose,” said Heidi Stuff. “Somebody walked out with it. It’s a really cool stuffed moose. That’s what we’re all heading for.”
And that’s what keeps crafters like Burick coming back year after year.
“That’s what’s fun about doing them because it brings a smile to people’s faces,” she said. “And that’s what we enjoy about it.”
Old-Fashioned Christmas in the Woods is also open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18.
Admission is $8. Masks and temperature checks are required.