The third annual Timberville Christmas Village has been canceled.
After months of consideration, organizers of the village took to Facebook this month to break the news of the event’s cancellation.
Natalie Sherlock, a Town Council member and Christmas Village planner, said Monday the decision behind canceling the village was to protect the community and potential visitors.
“We don’t want to create a hot spot here,” she said. “The last thing we want is for people to get COVID-19 on Christmas.”
Since its start in 2018, the Timberville Christmas Village, organized by volunteer-based nonprofit CART, has grown into a new family tradition as thousands of visitors brave the cold December weather to experience the holiday spirit that can only be found in Timberville.
Ned Overton, a Town Council member and member of CART’s board of directors, got the idea from a town in South Dakota where a group of teenagers used small sheds to create a Christmas village.
Using that idea, the organization used renovated horse stables to house artisan vendors at 325 American Legion Drive. The village was held in the Food Lion parking lot the first year.
Last year, the event reached attendance close to 10,000 people — nearly doubling the numbers from the village’s first year, which saw between 5,000 and 6,000 people.
Sherlock said that when planners began meeting two months ago, they considered having the village for one week instead of nearly a month to allow for social distancing. As discussion continued to be held, planners came to terms with the village unlikely to happen in 2020.
“Hopefully, we will be able to have it in 2021 and have a better venue,” Sherlock said. “We can focus this year on finding sponsors.”
With more than 25 vendors last year, Shea Alexander, a Timberville resident and master planner for the event, told council members in January that the Christmas Village made $67,000 in total sales and raised $27,000 for capital projects.
All 25 vendors can be found on the village’s website, along with direct links to their products.
Sherlock said it could still be possible to host a virtual Timberville Christmas Village by providing links to each vendor on the village’s website, but the site would need to be reconfigured first.
“All of us are very sad about it. It’s the last thing we wanted to do, but we care about the community,” Sherlock said. “I hope people continue to shop local.”