This year, Glen Arbor’s Holiday Marketplace and tree lighting have gone virtual to help the community safely celebrate the much-loved traditions.

“We didn’t want to miss a beat,” explains Patricia Widmayer, the Holiday Marketplace event coordinator for the Glen Lake Chamber and owner of Glen Arbor Bed & Breakfast and Cottages. “Whether we pick up the event in person next year or not, we can continue to use the work we’re putting in now and be able to also host it online for years to come.”

You’ll be able to shop from 15 or more local artisans online during the Holiday Marketplace, which opened on November 7 and runs through December 18. Instead of just one day of in-person shopping, this year, artisans can reach shoppers for more than a month. The Glen Lake Chamber is using a Facebook page to post updates and to connect the participating artisans with interested shoppers. Look for updates on Facebook about the event and details on how to shop.

Another favorite tradition, the annual tree lighting and caroling in front of the Glen Arbor Township Hall, is usually timed with the opening of the Holiday Market preview party on the Friday evening of Thanksgiving weekend. In light of the Holiday Market being virtual, plus the impossibility to social distance, the Chamber decided it would be fun to make a video to share of the tree lighting while canceling the in-person event. Marketing director and local resident Raquel Jackson says, “It’s been necessary to make decisions that impact public events for the concern of keeping everyone safe, but I hated to see this joy-filled tradition not happen. Video was the obvious answer to alternatively host the event. We were so pleased when we reached out to the Glen Lake Church and they agreed to help us make it possible. I love the simplicity of the event and the way it brings all ages, walks of life and even different beliefs together. It will be awesome to see this holiday tradition bring a bit of love and light in a new way.”

The Glen Lake Chamber will facilitate the purchase of new LED lights to re-decorate the trees that will be strung up by the Glen Lake Fire Department. Members from Glen Lake Church’s worship team will perform carols during the lighting of the tree, while a local resident will provide professional video support. The Chamber will pre-record the event and post the video on Facebook for all to see. Viewers may tune in to watch the tradition on Thanksgiving weekend.

Find 50+ fun gift ideas from Northern Michigan shops in MyNorth Holidays 2020.

Photo(s) by Glen Lake Chamber