What started out as a conversation to get more people to visit Monroeville has turned into an annual holiday event. If you're in the mood for some holiday fun, you'll want to drive to Monroeville on Saturday to participate in Monroeville Holiday Magic 2012.
Monroeville is about 17 miles southeast of Fort Wayne in Allen County.
Shawn Norris, creator and coordinator of the event, said she and another business owner, Missy Clem, brainstormed about ways to get people to visit Monroeville and came up with Holiday Magic.
Norris, who at that time managed the White Dove Cafe, approached the Chamber of Commerce, which gave the OK.
Holiday Magic's first year featured Santa in the town's gazebo and carolers' music. Norris has since added a gingerbread house contest and more events for children. This is the event's fifth year.
The free event is sponsored by Monroeville Chamber of Commerce and its members. Only the gingerbread house contest has an entry fee.
This year's events include:
•Santa and Mrs. Claus and craft vendor displays are at the park pavilion. Parents may take photos.
•The gingerbread house contest is at the fire station. Visitors also may decorate a cookie or make a holiday card. There will be games for ages 12 and under.
•Monroeville United Methodist Church offers more craft vendor displays and hot chocolate/coffee.
•Cornerstone Youth Center will hold a cookie walk. Visitors also may purchase poinsettias and stop by vendor displays.
•Trackside Museum features local historical items and will be open.
Visitors may stop at each attraction to have their holiday magic card stamped for entry into a drawing for two $25 prizes.
A free trolley is available to transport visitors to event locations, which are within a half-mile of each other. The trolley makes a full loop all four hours, she said, so it's convenient to park at one location and take the trolley to the others.
Norris, who is also secretary at the Chamber of Commerce, said participants donate their time and supplies to keep the event free to visitors.
Craft vendors are not charged table rental fees, and because of that, she had to add a second location at this year's event to accommodate approximately 28 vendors.
Restaurants and bars will be open to serve lunch.
About 300 people attended last year, but Norris would like to see more visitors.
“It's a good family day for people to see what we've got,” she said.