With everyday life in constant flux due to COVID-19, a mainstay has returned for the fall.
The Millarville Christmas Market opened Nov. 5 with a new format, with pre-purchased tickets and timed entry to maintain a maximum capacity on the grounds.
While the crowds were noticeably smaller from past years, vendors and patrons both found the new system agreeable.
Claire Perks at the Little Monkey Metal Works stall said the format makes for a more relaxed experience.
“There's no parking lot backups or anything like that,” Perks said. “So the fact that it's this even flow of people throughout the day makes it a nice experience.
"For the vendors, it's going to be a tough Christmas. There's no way it's going to be the same as it normally is. There's just not the sheer number of people.
“But on the flip side, at least we're getting to do something, because most other markets are cancelled.”
Market regular Marlene Durand left happy with an armful of goods.
“We come every year, we really like it,” Durand said.
“It's less busy and it was nice to be able to look.”
Millarville wasn’t the only market on over the weekend.
The Okotoks Christmas Market put on by Marketsquare had a great go of it.
Victor Tanyi was staffing the Garchi booth, and sold out of his garlic chili condiment.
"The market here has just been fantastic,” Tanyi said.
"It allows us to have access to the local people here and allows us to have a little bit more face time than just online presence.
"We couldn't believe the tremendous response we got here.
"People just want to get out, they want to try things, and they want to support local business.”
The Millarville Christmas Market continues Sunday Nov. 8, as well as Nov. 12-15. Tickets and information can be found here.
The Okotoks Christmas Market will continue Nov. 13-15. Tickets and information can be found at www.themarketsquare.ca.