This is a time of darkness, both literally and whenever you read the news.
Yvonne McSkimming has made it her mission to say, “Let there be light.”
And, by joining forces with Home Farm’s Noah Pryce-Jones to create a magical celebration of Christmas at Endswell Farm, she’s also hoping that the twinkling wonderland of multi-coloured lights will remind people that it’s through our diversity that we can find enlightenment. (Yes, she is that philosophical about it all. Please see the sidebar about what Christmas lights mean to her.)
On Friday, December 3, McSkimming and Pryce-Jones will welcome 150 ticket-holders to the first-ever Christmas at Endswell Farm. (The second celebration Dec. 19 is already sold out. Limited tickets left for Dec. 3)
For a minimum $15 donation to the food bank, people will be charmed by the more than 40,000 lights that McSkimming has collected over the years. There will also be sparklers for the kids, a craft station where everyone can make decorations out of pine cones, an open marshmallow-roasting fire pit, hot chocolate, warm apple cider and a box of the seven different homemade baked treats that Mrs. Claus likes to give to Santa when he’s busy in his workshop.
Oh, and did we mention that Santa is taking a break from his list-granting duties to visit Endswell?
“It’s going be pretty spectacular, rain or shine,” McSkimming says. “It’s been off the charts in terms of people saying ‘We want to come.’”
McSkimming’s love of Christmas lights is already well known on the island. Not only was her former home a sparkling beacon of festive fancy but she also put on a display of lights years ago at Endswell before switching her efforts to decorating the Little Red Church. The church board recently decided to go in a different direction and McSkimming started looking for a new venue.
The partnership with Endswell Farm is a natural one. McSkimming lives at the farm, which is where Pryce-Jones runs Home Farms Gardens. A festival of lights fundraiser for the food bank is part of Pryce-Jones’ personal ethos as well, McSkimming says.
“Noah’s upbringing is all around service, supporting community, building community and having people gather.”
The farm is owned by Matt Sauder who graciously welcomed their idea of how to create more than just a light display.
McSkimming personally covers all of the costs of the annual display, including purchasing the lights and paying for help to set up the lights and take them down.
Although she is involved with many other good causes on the islands, the food bank remains her fundraising focus at Christmas.
“It really does serve a wide spectrum of individuals,” she says. “It’s not that there aren’t other charities that are lovely on the island but most of the charities are specific to a target group. I understand how much things are costing and the jump in costs is off the charts. The food bank ensures that anybody, from anywhere, from any social and economic background has access to something that is going to be nutritious. Food security is super critical and it’s going to be even more so in the next few months.”
Christmas at Endswell Farm is on two nights from 6 to 8 p.m.: Fri., Dec. 3 and Sun., Dec. 19.
To secure your tickets to either night please contact Yvonne McSkimming at 604-726-5277 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Noah at 604-341-7244 or email@example.com. A minimum donation of $15 per person is requested.