Three local organizations have joined forces this year to bring residents the 2021 Holiday Hopper contest, inviting guests to three festive events in the county and giving participants the opportunity to win free sweet treats.
The Shepherd’s Staff Festival of Trees has partnered with Carroll County Arts Council’s Festival of Wreaths and the Human Services Programs’ Gingerbread Village Festival to distribute punch cards for the Holiday Hopper tour at each of their events.
When an attendee visits all three festivals and gets their card punched at each event, they can visit Rare Opportunity Baking Company for a free coffee or hot chocolate and a bakehouse cookie. With a completed card, residents will also have a chance to win one of three prizes. Drawings for the prizes will be held at a Facebook Live event on Dec. 10.
Missie Wilcox, coordinator of the Hopper program, called it “an outstanding way” to get into the holiday spirit while visiting downtown Westminster and helping local nonprofits at the same time.
“Families can gather together and witness the massive local artistic talent, demonstrated through the festive trees, wreaths and gingerbread houses,” she said.
The Shepherd’s Staff Annual Festival of Trees will be held this Friday through Sunday at the John Street Quarters in Westminster and feature a silent auction of handcrafted trees and other artisan items, live music, a photo booth, baked goods and raffles.
Brenda Meadows, executive director of The Shepherd’s Staff, said the group is thankful to the Carroll County Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the events, as well as for the participation of Rare Opportunity Bakehouse.
From Nov. 26 to Dec. 5, the Carroll County Arts Council will host the Festival of Wreaths from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. This event features more than 100 uniquely themed wreaths that are sold through an online auction that benefits the arts council. While all the bidding is done virtually, the arts center displays all the entries so patrons can visit and view them.
“This is my first year in Carroll County so I’m excited to make the Holiday Hopper my new holiday tradition,” said Eric Kerchner, executive director of the arts council. “It’s a great opportunity for us at the CCAC to partner with other local nonprofits that have such a vital impact on our community.”
The Gingerbread Village Festival, put on by Human Services Programs, will take place through Nov. 24 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the Winchester Exchange Building across from the Westminster Branch Library.
The event includes a gingerbread-house-building competition to raise awareness about homelessness during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, as well as a fundraiser to help provide opportunities for those experiencing homelessness in the community.
This year, a wooden play structure that looks like an antique truck will be given away as a raffle prize at the festival.
All three events are free to attend.
Other upcoming holiday happenings in Carroll County include the Miracle on Main Street event in downtown Westminster this Saturday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Hosted by the City of Westminster Recreation and Parks Department, residents can enjoy a variety of activities to help get them into the holiday spirit, such as the Jingle Bell Run, the Holiday Electric Parade, the lighting of the holiday tree, caroling with the Westminster Municipal Band and St. John’s Children’s Choir, Santa’s Treat for Kids, and a visit from Santa himself.
On Dec. 6, Carroll County commissioners invite the public to attend the Holiday Lighting Ceremony in front of the Carroll County Office Building
Beginning at 5 p.m., the event will include brief remarks by the commissioners, followed by the official lighting of an evergreen tree, courtesy of Douglas Zepp of Zepp Tree Farm in Westminster.
Coppermine Cascade Park, formerly known as Cascade Lake, will host its first outdoor holiday lights walk-through, Cascade Lights, on select dates Nov. 26 through Dec. 23 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Located at 2844 Snydersburg Road in Hampstead, Cascade Lights is a half-mile of lighted trees and trails featuring a choreographed light show, fire pits, food trucks and Santa’s workshop, along with festive treats from The Bus Stop.