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South Shore Breaker - 2021-11-24

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PAUL PICKREM SOUTH SHORE BREAKER

Coco Strowbridge and her family are busy preparing for the first day of lobster season. The beginning of that season is Nov. 29 and is also called Dumping Day. At 7 a.m. sharp, their boat, the Atlantic Pride 1, will join the stream of boats pulling away from the wharf in Lunenburg laden with lobster pots, buoys and bait heading out to sea to set their traps. However, the anticipation and excitement in the air at the wharf on that day is also building all over Lunenburg for another important event. Christmas lights are being strung on vessels tied up at the fish plants on the harbour as well as on Christmas trees, buildings, businesses and streets. And popular snowflake lights are being hung again this year on lampposts downtown. The Light Up Lunenburg weekend of events begins on the evening of Nov. 26, punctuated by a long list of popular Christmas season attractions lasting until Nov. 28. They include the Lighting of the Vessels, the Christmas parade, Christmas By The Sea Outdoor Market and the Lighting of the Trees. For weeks, Strowbridge has divided her time between helping her family prepare for the opening day of fishing season and assisting the town get ready for Christmas by organizing the upcoming parade and outdoor market. “For me it's a way to start Christmas and I think for a lot of lobster fishing families. You are able to start Christmas and the lobster season together,” Strowbridge said. “For a lot of people this weekend is the kickoff to the holidays.” The weekend of Christmas events had to be cancelled last year because of Covid-related health restrictions. But Jamie Myra, the Lunenburg Board of Trade president, said the town is looking forward to getting its Christmas celebrations back on track. “We are trying to go back to what we had PRE-COVID,” Myra said. Myra said Light Up Lunenburg is a chance to “get back to some normalcy” and is as good for business as it is for the morale of the community. “It brings people from all over Nova Scotia, especially southwest Nova Scotia, to our community. They shop. They stay. They dine,” Myra said. Organizers said the parade had been one of the weekend's most popular events since the first parade 12 years ago. Howard Keeping organized the first parade and all the parades for the following 10 years. Keeping said he's proud of the growth of the parade. The number of entrants has more than doubled over the years. “I have had so many people tell me how much they appreciate that day, the business it brought to town for them. One business told me it's the biggest day they had of the year,” Keeping said. Strowbridge said the parade anchors the day of events on Saturday by bringing visitors to the town who also enjoy browsing the stalls at the Christmas by the Sea Market. That event showcases jewelry, health care and bath products, decorations, clothing, lobster rope mats and baskets, stained glass, alcohol products and food products, including rum cakes and chocolate. “We have a lot of artistic crafters and makers prevalent in this community. The market gives them a place to spotlight their wares,” Strowbridge said. “It really is a little bit of everything.” Sarah Batten, owner of Lunenburg Rum Cakes, said she is looking forward to showing the public her traditional vanilla rum cakes soaked with rum syrup when they come out of the oven. Batten also has a line of chocolate. Batten said the market is a fun event whether you are a customer or a vendor. But it's also an important day for her business. “Last year there weren't any markets that happened. And that was a huge difference, trying to navigate different ways to sell,” Batten said. “For me it's important to be able to get out there and meet the people. You can't sample the food yet, but to be able show my product to people rather than just an online version.” Batten, who describes herself as “a diehard Christmas fan,” said the buzz leading up to Christmas during the Light Up Lunenburg weekend of events puts her in the Christmas mood: when the switch is thrown to turn the lights on, it also turns on the Christmas spirit. “People start coming out in their Santa hats. Music is going so you see people dancing. There is candy all around. It gets the Christmas spirit going,” Batten said. Information on events scheduled for the weekend is available at facebook.com/ xmassea/.

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