Smashing pumpkins? Christmas comes early to Mount Pearl's Glacier
Arena plays host to 25th annual Christmas show
While many are gearing up for Halloween, it's Christmas in Mount Pearl.
This October marks the silver anniversary of the popular event Christmas at the Glacier, Sandra Flynn's brainchild.
"Going back 25 years people thought we were crazy," Flynn told CBC News.
"A Christmas show before Halloween? You're nuts!' [But] it obviously works."
Since 1993, Christmas at the Glacier has put hockey on hold at the Mount Pearl arena. Instead, vendors, gifts and shoppers fill the space.
Back when grunge topped the charts, Flynn spent a lot of time on the telephone trying to convince people to come to the show and sell their stuff. Now, she turns people away.
"A unique shopping experience is what stands out," she said.
"Over the past few years, we sort of try and get a lot of unique vendors who have totally handcrafted products and keep the gifty stuff to a minimum."
With leaves still hanging on the trees, Christmas music blares through the sound system of the rink.
The middle of October is the time Flynn wanted, and is one she has kept for a quarter of a century.
"After 25 years, it's very well established as the kick off to the Christmas season."
It's also a big boost for small businesses, like Aunt Sarah's Chocolate out of Trinity. Owner Sarah Rochacewich runs a retail shop during the tourist season, but shuts down and moves her operation online when September ends.
This show is her third time appearing at Christmas at the Glacier.
"It's really important," she said. "[It] let's us extend our season beyond our retail store. It exposes us to a lot more people in St. John's and the surrouding area that we wouldn't necessarily see during the summer."
While Rochacewich does her best to keep up with the crowds at the other end of the arena, Creative World Inc. out of Clarenville has one of the biggest booths.
Gerald Hunt is one of three vendors who has managed to make it to every single Christmas at the Glacier.
"This is a very important part of our business," he said.
"We are exposed to St. John's, Mount Pearl and the spin-off from it is amazing."
Hunt said car loads of customers show up in November and December after seeing them at the event. His secret to being able to survive the 25 years is adaptation.
"We always change our product every year and it keeps the customer interested to see it," he said.
In an age when online shopping is so easy, it's impressive to see the aisles filled with prospective buyers — a sight that isn't lost on Flynn.
"It's amazing that it's still going so strong after 25 years, and it's even bigger and better than ever," she said.