BY Michelle Poirier

Christmas has come early at The Briars Resort and Spa in Jackson’s Point, as it opens its first Christmas Festival on November 26.

The Festival will run until December 19, on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The admission fee is $20 per person on Fridays and $25 on Saturdays and Sundays. Children under 12-years-old are free. 

“People are itching for things to do, and because it is all outdoors, everyone can be included,” Nicole Strawbridge, Marketing and Recreation Supervisor at The Briars, said. 

Briars’ staff will not be checking for proof of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the whole market is outdoors.

Mandy Morrison, Director of Sales at The Briars, said people still want to stay safe, and the Festival will allow them to stay safe and have something to do.

The recreation team at The Briars has turned one of the walking trails into a Trail of Lights; there will also be selfie stations, including Santa’s sleigh and a gingerbread house, live entertainment, and bonfires.

Guests of the Festival can also book a photo with Santa for $35 or go on a carriage ride for $10 per person.

“Our Santa has a mask built into his beard, although you won’t be able to see it, and he is double vaccinated. If parents want their children to be unmasked in the photo because it’s outdoors, it’s fine. They will have the choice; they can sit on Santa’s knee, there are two big red comfy chairs on either side of Santa, and we have a dozen Christmas pillows scattered below Santa’s chair. So, there are options,” Strawbridge said.

The team at The Briars has taken special care in selecting the vendors, so there is a wide variety of offerings, and all the vendors are local. There will be 63 vendors in total throughout all the Festival dates, with 18 to 20 vendors per day.

“When we had the summer festival, the vendors were selling out because they had such unique products,” Morrison said. 

“It will be a great place to come and get your holiday shopping done. It’s unique, with really fun gifts and offers the chance to shop local.”

They will be collecting unwrapped toys for the CP24 Chum Christmas Wish Toy Drive and donations to the Georgina Food Pantry.  

The Briars is also holding a Holiday Feast on Saturday, December 4 and 11.

“We’re going to have an elegant four-course dinner, with champagne and specialty holiday coffee, a live pianist and singer, for $89 per person, tax and gratuity included,” Morrison said.

Morrison said if guests are coming to the Holiday Feast for an additional $10, they can come for the day and visit the Christmas Festival; this gives them the chance to see the Festival at a discounted rate. The Briars also offers discounted overnight rates to guests coming to the Holiday Feast, and anyone staying overnight can visit the Festival for free.

For more information about booking a night stay or to make reservations for the Holiday Feast, you can call (905) 722-0001.

To book your tickets for the Christmas Festival, you can visit www.briarsrecreation.weebly.com, or you can purchase your tickets when you arrive at the Festival.

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