Second annual Winterfest ready for today’s opening ceremony in Spencer

Published 12:02 am Friday, December 2, 2022

SPENCER — The second annual Winterfest, or German Christmas Marketplace, will kick off today with the opening ceremony at 4 p.m.

The event continues Saturday,  and next Friday and Saturday, Dec. 9-10.

The Christmas tree lighting will be at 6 p.m. and Santa Claus will be joined by both Spencer Mayor Jonathan Williams and Das Chriskind, which literally translates to “Christ child,” the traditional one who brings gifts on Christmas Eve in Germany.

Corinne Mauldin, one of the co-chairs of the event, said a 12-woman committee put together the event and she noted it would not have been possible without a number of sponsors in the community.

“This is a free event,” she said. “Participating in the events is free. The only thing you’ll pay for is food and drink or some of the crafts, but participation is free. We believe that the children here should be able to enjoy holiday activities without parents worrying if they can afford it.”

She praised her co-chair Sherry Mason Brown and the group’s chair, Kim Lentz, for their commitment. In addition, she said Sherry Morgan had tackled coordinating craft and sales vendors, which was a challenging job, and Lauren West was overseeing food and beverage vendors.

Michael Lorimer of Anytime Ice Skating, which operates under Big Bounce Funhouse Rentals, was overseeing the construction of an ice skating rink on Thursday afternoon, but there was no actual ice involved.

“We use these polymer plastic sheets that are a tongue in groove design so they fit together,” he said, “and when someone crosses the sheets with actual ice skates, it releases a chemical impregnated in the sheets that makes the plastic feel and perform like ice.”

In addition to skating, there will be 20 vendors inside wooden huts — 10 from last year that were put together this year by workers from SunBelt, and 10 donated this year by Salcoa Contracting — and a children’s tent for crafting (including cookie decorating) and games, a stage for band performances including a polka band, a tent for eating the delectables from the food vendors and beverage suppliers which will be housed in two larger wooden huts constructed by the Spencer Fire Department.

“I cannot say enough good things about the business community and the town,” said Mauldin. “Truist is sponsoring the race on Saturday, and the main sponsors of the whole event are Tom and Martha Smith and the Town of Spencer. Other major sponsors are Chewy, F&M, and Trinity Oaks, but I don’t want to leave anyone out. We had $125 business sponsors that a number of small businesses funded, and essentially the entire community has come together behind this.”

The event costs about $135,000 to put on and Mauldin said the committee has been working on it throughout the year.

“This started when Alderman Sam Morgan and his wife sat down to think about some sort of event the town could hold for the holidays,” said Mauldin. “Sam is in charge of events, and he wanted to come up with something special for the community. This was what they came up with, and they reached out to those of us on the committee to see if we would help. I am not from here, but my husband is, and our children attended Rowan schools, and I just thought it was a marvelous idea.”

Mauldin herself is in charge of the overall construction of the event and had already long been at work by 10 a.m. Thursday. The event takes up essentially the entire parking lot in front of City Hall at 450 S. Salisbury Ave., directly across from the N.C. Transportation Museum.

“It’s worth it,” Mauldin said about Thursday morning’s icy temperatures. “It’s cold, yes, but I am just so excited for the kids and families to come out and enjoy an event in their community that is absolutely free. And we are working in conjunction with the Transportation Museum’s Polar Express event. We hope that we can share the same audience and everyone can enjoy both sides of the street.”

The event runs from 4-8 p.m. Fridays and noon-8 p.m. Saturdays.  The Freeze Your Buns Run has two events on Saturday: the fun run at noon and the 5K at 12:30 p.m. The official closing ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 10 with a performance by Divided by Four.

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