Calling the Christmas Village one of her “favorite events,” Lauren Woodward Cason is looking forward to participating in this year’s offering. A resident of White, Cason has showcased her knitting creations at every Christmas Village since its inception in 2017.
“It is always a risk to have a booth at a new event, but the Christmas Village was well advertised and was close to Christmas, so I took a chance, booked a booth and never looked back,” Cason said. “The atmosphere is great, the weather is cool and everyone is ready to shop for Christmas.
“Karon Mauney does an amazing job each year putting the event together. Tasteful Christmas music plays throughout the venue, amazing smells drift through the air and great products are around every corner.”
Cason, who is the owner of The Winter Wren, started knitting in 2009. She taught herself the various techniques when she was unemployed and seeking employment.
“People in my apartment complex saw what I was making, and before I knew it, I was getting custom orders,” Cason said. “I participated in my first arts and craft show a couple of months later, and The Winter Wren was officially open for business.
“I continued to get orders, continued to hone my craft and continued to expand my patterns and available products. The name The Winter Wren is a play off of my name, Lauren, and the fact that I sell products used mostly in the winter.”
Set for Nov. 6 and 7, the Christmas Village will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Conference Center, 5450 Ga. State Route 20 in Cartersville.
Situated at the event’s entrance, Cason’s booth will showcase a wide array of her products, such as ear warmers, fingerless gloves, scarves and boggins. The items range in size from newborn to adult.
“My products, except for the earrings, are made from 100% acrylic yarn,” Cason said. “They are knit, handwoven or crochet. I do all of this from my home. I have a designated room in my house where I have my products, supplies and a work area that I call my Yarn Studio.
“I believe that my items are unique because I use my own patterns, and I can customize the colors and size to what customers want. One great thing about what I do, is I can make most of my products from anywhere. I have even been known to knit while watching my husband’s softball games at Dellinger.”
After having to cancel her Northwest Georgia Women’s Expo & Artisans’ Market earlier this year due to COVID-19 concerns, Mauney is excited to present the Christmas Village next month.
“We postponed the March Women’s Expo to August, but then had to cancel the event altogether due to COVID-19 testing in the rear parking lot area of the Clarence Brown Conference Center,” said Mauney, owner and event coordinator of the Women’s Expo and Christmas Village. “Logistically, we simply couldn’t make it work with the heavy traffic coming in for testing.
“The test site was moved just weeks later, which gave us an opportunity to move forward with the Christmas Village event in November. While there were a few vendors who opted not to participate due to continued health concerns, most vendors were thrilled to continue their participation. We have returning favorites and 19 new vendors joining us this year.”
Along with supplying hand sanitizer throughout the conference center, Mauney shared other safety measures include asking patrons and vendors to wear face coverings and remain home if they feel ill, and decreasing the number of booths to assist with social distancing.
“I want our guests to know that we have taken every precaution to make this a safe event,” Mauney said. “While the event may look a little different this year, our vendors will be providing a wonderful shopping experience for our guests.
“This event is a one-stop shop for our guests to begin checking off their Christmas list and to also find unique holiday décor for their homes. Christmas music will fill the room as our guests browse from booth to booth. We will also have a number of door prizes again this year, which always adds excitement to the event.”
Promoted as a “shopping extravaganza for the holidays,” the Christmas Village attracts an average of 2,000 guests from Bartow and its surrounding counties.
“After many years of presenting a successful Women’s Expo to our community, I wanted to add a holiday event — one that would include Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Mauney said. “This event is a wonderful blend of artisans, boutiques and specialty shopping — all small businesses with great items for your home and for gift giving.
“Our tag line is ‘Enjoy your December. Do your shopping in November.’ There will be 50 unique vendors in the lobby and the Etowah Ballroom. Chuck’s Curbside Cheesesteaks will be offering a variety of lunch items, including mozzarella sticks, beef hot dogs, and Chuck’s famous cheesesteak. We will offer outside dining only this year and will have plenty of space for our guests to enjoy a quick lunch. While Santa won’t be joining us this year, he has reserved a place on his calendar to join us again in 2021.”
Admission to the Christmas Village is $5 and there is no charge for youth 15 and younger. The event’s presenting sponsors are Glitzy Chiks and The Daily Tribune News.
For more information about the Christmas Village or opportunities to win complementary tickets, visit the event's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/ChristmasVillageCartersville.