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Arisaig to ring in Christmas season with a gala

Santa Claus – also known as Jamie Ross – provides a festive flavour to the Arisaig Christmas bazaar. This year, the event is scheduled for Sunday, Nov. 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Arisaig Parish Community Hall. Contributed
Santa Claus [Jamie Ross, incognito] is one of many Arisaig locals looking forward to this year's Christmas gala.

As the holiday season draws closer, Arisaig is one place that gets progressively more festive, as Christmas approaches. This is no more evident than with events that keep the Arisaig Community Centre busy, like the Christmas bazaar, and the Celtic Christmas gala – an event that was a transplant from Cape Breton.

Marie MacDonald and her husband Gerald look forward to putting together the yearly galas – and this year’s event promises to be as great a time as previous years.

“It’s exciting to host the event every year,” MacDonald said. “It’s a very important thing to us.”
The Christmas gala is important to the MacDonalds, because it’s a celebration of the spirit of generosity in Antigonish County, originally started as a way to honour the memory of their son Kyle, who died Dec. 13, 2002.

The idea was not one that originated in Arisaig. It became a reality in Port Hawkesbury – where the MacDonalds used to live – starting in 2004. When the MacDonalds moved to Arisaig, in retirement, they brought the idea of a gala with them.

What originally started as a small commemorative event grew, and become popular – in both communities where they hosted it.

The Arisaig Community Development Association came onboard, providing funding for the gala. From that point forward, the yearly galas have been a hit; something to look forward to, every holiday season, as the days get shorter.

This year’s gala is going to feature the country, Maritime and rock-influenced sounds of Sparrow, a local band whose talent Lionel Benoit has graciously offered as a backdrop to the festivities at the Arisaig Community Centre planned for Dec. 1.

“Lionel and his band support us in such a huge way, so we decided – with the help of friends in the community contributing appetizers and other things – for a social hour, this year,” MacDonald said. “Sparrow is a big band. It’s a big community event here.”

It’s an event that is so big, in fact, that it attracts guests from as far away as Halifax and Sydney, every year.

Proceeds all are for a good cause. This year, MacDonald encouraged guests to bring food donations for the Antigonish Food Bank. Additionally, proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society, and the St. Martha’s Hospital Foundation.

Want to go?

The Christmas gala is happening Dec 1 at the Arisaig Community Centre. Happy hour is from 8 – 9 p.m. The music starts at 9 p.m.

Tickets for the Christmas gala are $20. For more information on how to buy tickets for the Christmas gala, contact 902-863-5990 or 902-863-2156.

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