The doors to some of Okotoks’ oldest homes will open to artists, crafters and collectors alike in a unique Christmas shopping experience this weekend.
Property owners on Elma Street are inviting the public to walk down the historic street for an artisan market, live music, caroling and boutique shopping in An Elma Street Christmas Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Erin Morrill, who owns the century-old historic Mahon House across from the Rotary Performing Arts Centre, is opening her doors to 10 local vendors and Calgary’s Caravana Gypsy Jazz Band for the day.
Morrill, owner of Deava Beadz, and fellow Elma Street resident and artist Andrea Reinheimer, spearheaded An Elma Street Christmas on the heels of September’s Elma Street Arts Walk that took place during Alberta Culture Days.
“It was so much fun having everybody here at Elma Street Arts Walk,” said Morrill. “It really brought a sense of community.”
Arts Walk organizers had envisioned art displays and demonstrations on front lawns of Elma Street businesses and residences, but heavy snowfall forced everyone indoors, including Morrill’s home.
“It was wonderful,” she said of the unexpected change. “We thought, let’s do it again.”
The Morrills bought the Mahon House 30 years ago and renovated it back to its original state using the original floor plans.
“We raised our three sons in the house and as the family changed I opened up my business Deava Beadz 10 years ago,” she said.
Morrill closed the storefront last year, but continues to operate Deava Beadz out of her home, which will be one of the 10 vendors featured in the house on Saturday. Other vendors include 94 Take the Cake, Sweat Pea Canning Co., Lost Valley Textiles, Drift Simply Natural, Angel-Mae Pottery, Hats by Kat and artists Ann-Christine Gurholt, Andrea Reinheimer and Andrea Theil.
Reinheimer had also operated a business out of her Elma Street home – the clothing and accessory shop Twenty Two Collective - for almost three years before closing it last summer to spend time with family.
“Erin and I both closed our businesses almost two years ago and we both really miss that camaraderie and community feel,” said Reinheimer. “We both love Elma Street so much.”
Reinheimer also participated in the Elma Street Arts Walk, where she sold her abstract art. She said having a similar event close to Christmas is a great way to continue that Elma Street camaraderie.
“I thought it was such a fun community-spirited event,” she said. “Elma Street is such a beautiful heritage street and it lends itself really nicely to an old-fashioned Christmas.”
To add to the ambiance, the Big Rock Singers will walk up and down the street singing Christmas carols.
Reinheimer said all Elma Street businesses and residents are invited to participate, with many offering hot chocolate and snacks, and some putting out fire pits.
Among the participants is Lineham House Galleries, which will feature four artisans, three of which will offer demonstrations throughout the day.
Reinheimer said as Okotoks grows, it’s important to appreciate and remember where the town started more than a century ago.
“I’m always surprised at how many people don’t even know about this street or that there are cool little businesses in these beautiful heritage buildings,” she said. “This town is really rich with stories and it’s really nice for people to come down, even if all they do is walk up and down the street, just to appreciate how beautiful the original part of this town is.”
With Elma Street businesses a block off of the beaten path, Reinheimer said they can often be overlooked.
“We all had to work that much harder as business people, but it created a really nice camaraderie between all of us because we all support each other and work with each other,” she said. “That made for a really nice working atmosphere.”
More details about An Elma Street Christmas can be found on Facebook.