Get ready: Christmas in the Garden expects 30,000 guests

October 2015 Posted in Community
Workers hanging decorations in the Discovery Forest for Christmas in the Garden.

Workers hanging decorations in the Discovery Forest for Christmas in the Garden.

By Kristine Thomas

Running out of fondue and pretzels in The Oregon Garden’s food booth on the Saturday of Mount Angel’s 50th Oktoberfest only reemphasized to Oregon Garden Resort General Manager Christine Diacetis how important it is to plan carefully and prepare for the unexpected.

“We thought we had enough fondue and we weren’t expecting such large crowds,” she said. “We had to make a run for more food Sunday morning.”

That situation has made Diacetis more determined to check and recheck the lists in preparation for the third annual Christmas in the Garden.

Last year, 22,587 guests visited The Oregon Gardent during 14 nights, doubling the attendance from the first year.

“We are expecting 30,000 to 35,000 guests this year,” Diacetis said.

To host that many guests from Friday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Jan. 3, it’s going to take teamwork from community members, the city staff and local business owners, she added.

The activities include more than 300,000 sparkling lights artfully displayed, a German Christmas market, photographs with Santa, live reindeer, pony rides, carolers and story time.

New this year is tha addition of an ice skating rink.

Even though it’s October, Diacetis said now is the time for the rest of Silverton to start planning for Christmas in the Garden, too. She offered some suggestions on what could be done.

Christmas in the Garden
To register a nonprofit organization
for parking proceeds or to volunteer
at Christmas in the Garden, go to
www.oregongarden.org and
click on volunteer.

Become a vendor
If you have a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted item or food to sell, now is the time to contact The Oregon Garden about becoming a vendor. It costs $575 to have a booth for 18 nights. Applications are available at oregongarden.org

If you have a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted item or food to sell, now is the time to contact The Oregon Garden about becoming a vendor. It costs $575 to have a booth for 18 nights. Applications are available at oregongarden.org

Join in as a volunteer 

Trying to host Christmas in the Garden without volunteers would be like Santa Claus trying to make gifts without elves. Last year, volunteers contributed more than 1,100 hours.

Volunteers are needed to tend to fire pits, greet guests, provide directions, help Santa, help with the reindeer and more.

As a way of giving back to the community, Diacetis said volunteers will be able to raise money for their nonprofit group. Volunteers can indicate which nonprofit group or school they want to support. The nonprofit will receive a percentage of parking proceeds, based on how many volunteers choose their organization.

Diacetis said volunteers are need this month to start hanging lights and paint the vendor booths.

“There are things we can do now so we can have it done by Thanksgiving,” she said.

Prepare for more business

Diacetis said guests coming to the Garden also will want to visit historic downtown Silverton. At the garden, there will be signs about visiting Silverton and there will be ads on the Garden’s website.

She encourages businesses to extend their hours Thursday through Sunday to at least 8 p.m. to benefit families leaving the event and looking for a drink, dinner or more shopping.

“We figure guests spend at least two hours at the Garden so if they arrive at 4, then around 6 they will be looking to eat,” she said.

Silverton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Stacy Palmer encourages businesses to find creative ways to decorate their windows.

“Take advantage of the fact there will be people in town and be prepared with staff,” Palmer said. “Also be aware of what’s happening in town and be an ambassador for the community.”

Diacetis said with all the guests coming to Silverton, she encourages businesses and civic and school groups to not miss the opportunity whether it’s volunteering, decorating their business or having events to attract guests.

“If we are going to have this many people here, it’s important we all prepare for it and benefit from it,” she said.

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