Cottage Grove

Christmas spirit in spades at Village Green


Cottage Grove has gotten a taste of Germany with the Village Green Christmas Market. Through Dec. 23, all are welcome to partake in this open-air holiday market that offers a light show, vendor market, Santa and more.
Originating in Germany and Austria all way back to the late Middle Ages, the ”Weihnacthsmarkt” is generally held in or near the town square, and vendors sold festive food, drinks and crafted creations while attendees were entertained with traditional songs and dances. They have since grown in popularity and are held all over the world to celebrate the Christmas season.
”The owner of Moonstone Hotel Properties has a strong passion and love for both Germany and Christmas,” Allie Woodson, regional marketing manager, said in an email, ”and wanted to bring those traditions to his properties. We have had light shows in the past at The Village Green, but nothing on the scale of what it is this year. We have half a million lights, a vendor market, live music, food, drinks and Santa!”
Woodson said that this is the first year year for the market, although vendors did attend past light shows.
Ashley Shoemaker came all the way from Elmira to take part in the festivities. She attended the year prior, but described the atmosphere as ”rainy and very quiet,” a difference from this year where the market really expanded.
”We had such a good time last year, and we won a one night stay with the Instagram photo contest,” she said. ”We invited friends this year and will come back next year.”
Although places like Portland and Coos Bay have light parades and holiday markets, the Village Green Christmas Market is a unique tradition for middle to southern Lane County. Shoemaker said that it’s, ”nice to have something really homey and holiday-ey in a small community,” and she hopes it continues to grow.
Woodson said it’s important for the community to have these opportunities.
”I think it’s important to the community to have a place to go to experience the magic of Christmas, and to spend time together as family and friends,” she said.
Attendees enter the market and are greeted by a light show in the courtyard. Lights around trees, trellises and the gazebo offer a cozy glow for picture-takers; designs of flowers, mushrooms and swans also decorate the paths. Then comes the market, where bungalows with retail items and traditional German food and drinks are sold.
”I am most looking forward to what the success of this year as an event means for future years of this,” Woodson said. ”I love the feedback we have been getting this year and I think we were able to give people what they want and needed in a Christmas event!”
For employee Breeanna Conner, she said she had to have the vendor job because Christmas is her favorite holiday.
”It’s such a happy environment; everyone here is happy,” she said. ”The employees here are nice to work with and kind to one another. I just like being here; watching everyone look at lights, seeing all the stuff and getting excited about it.”
This is her second year working at the market, and she said these events join the community together and are an opportunity to meet new people.
”Considering Cottage Grove being as small as it is, it’s a good thing for it to go on here because there’s not a lot of community things going around in small places, and (it) brings people together.”



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