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On Nov. 13, Southeast Manitoba will be able to start the Christmas season off with a new tradition of festivals at Providence College and Seminary in Otterburne.

This Saturday, Providence will hosts its first ever Christmas Extravaganza, a three-fold event featuring the Festival of Trees, a Craft and Gift Sale, followed by a community dinner and traditional carol sing.

The craft and gift sale will be packed with more than 50 local crafters. The Festival of Trees is like a silent auction for a variety of decorated Christmas trees which will be on display as a forest of trees during the craft sale. The trees will be auctioned off at the community dinner.

Margaret Schonewille, vice president of Development of Providence, expects the event will be a really good time and hopes it will bring the community together.

“Christmas is a special time at Providence,” says Schonewille. “We have always been known for our Festival of Christmas Praise concert, which has become a real Christmas tradition in the communities around Otterburne.”

“We really want to branch out on the season this year and expand our Christmas festivities so that the whole community can enjoy the season for longer. Our campus is so beautiful in winter and Christmas is, of course, one of our favourite times of year to celebrate what we believe in,” says Schonewille. “We want people to come on campus and be blessed by the spirit of a Providence Christmas.”

Starting at 9 a.m., the craft sale of the Christmas Extravaganza will host local artisans from throughout Manitoba and Northern Ontario. The booths, which are still available for $35, will open until 4:30 p.m.

Throughout the day, the beautifully decorated Christmas trees will be up for auction as the first Providence Festival of Trees. The trees will be decorated by various groups and businesses, including various departments at Providence.

Following the craft sale and Festival of Trees, the community is invited to stay for dinner, which costs $12. The evening will feature a traditional carol sing and the winners of the trees will be announced.

Shaw TV was on campus on Nov. 10 to film a preview of the decorated trees and the craft sale preparations. This segment will be aired on Shaw TV multiple times throughout the day on Friday, Nov. 12, as well as on other community awareness bulletin segments provided by Shaw on other stations.

"It was exciting to host the Shaw TV producers," said Sara Dacombe, media relations coordinator for Providence. "We have had warm response from the community, and amazing response from crafters - with over 60 coming out in support of this event. We are looking forward to a very good turnout on Saturday."

The festivities continue on Dec. 3 and 4 with the annual Festival of Christmas Praise.

For more information on these events, please visit the events calendar at

10 College Crescent
Otterburne, Manitoba, Canada, R0A 1G0
Phone: (204) 433-7488 or (800) 668-7768
Fax: (204) 433-7158
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