From hot mulled apple cider and spiced honey meads to hot chocolate porter and a fir tips brew, you’ll be loving the winter vibes in Abbotsford.
Navigate your way through rooms of enchanting Christmas décor, pick-up vibrant winter greens, or escape to the country and experience what Mt. Lehman has to offer.
Heading into the holiday season, these free pop up Christmas Markets showcase Abbotsford'ss best artisans from crafts to local food.
It's the most wonderful time of year and Abbotsford is celebrating with festive holiday shows, family-friendly festivals, dazzling tree lightings, and artisan events.
There's no shortage of kids inspired halloween events happening around the city.
TRADEX RINGS IN NEW YEAR IN FUN, ECONOMICAL WAY FOR ALL
Brad Styba and the management team at Tradex consider First Night, the heralding of a new year in Abbotsford, as a way of giving back to the community.
“You don’t have to break the bank to have fun,” at this event, which was launched on New Year’s Eve of 2014 with just shy of 3,000 attendees and grew to a crowd of 3,700 last year. Video coverage is here.
Number of fun-lovers promises to grow for third annual event
Styba said Tradex is expecting the number of participants to grow to between 4,500 and 5,000 for this third First Night. “We’ll cap it at 5,000 tickets,” he said. “This way there are no huge lineups for the activities.”
Before First Night was established, Styba said Tradex started to realize growth of events in December. “We had North Pole BC, large corporate dinners, a benevolent association children’s party with a midway . . . and we looked and saw what we had in the building leading up to Christmas to see if Tradex could throw a party.”
Striking a chord with locals and U.S. neighbours
From there the ideas developed for First Night, and after the first one, the response was terrific, with congratulatory calls not only from Abbotsford, but from south of the border and across the Lower Mainland.
That first year, Tradex executive director Craig Nichols was quoted in the media this way: “We had a great turnout, great response, great walk-up crowd. I think we all realize that the event struck a chord with locals.”
Considering the fact the Abbotsford News A-List has Tradex voted as the #1 place to host an event, it’s no wonder the First Night alcohol-free celebration is resonating with the community.
One ticket buys all the fun activities and entertainment
Food is extra beyond the $12 advance or $15 at-the-door single price of admission, but families will enjoy the $2 food tents featuring hotdogs, pop, popcorn and cotton candy.
Parking is free, courtesy of Fraserway RV.
Price of admission gets everyone laughing and giggling on unlimited West Coast Amusements carnival rides, ranging from Spring Ride and Monkey Spin, Tornado and Kite Flyer, to Choo Choo Charlie and Cuckoo Haus.
Back again this year is the talented Abbotsford choreographer, Mary Boonstra, teaching the crowd, in particular the children, dance steps for the big night. Boonstra was very popular when she taught steps to the theme song from Austin Powers movie.
Emcees for the night are Langley country/pop western duo sisters Robyn and Ryleigh Gillespie of Langley; with kids’ television entertainer Will Stroet belting out his toe-tapping melodies in his trademark style. Bouncy castles, crafts, rock wall, mini golf, face-painting and more will keep families busy all night.
Balloon drop, fireworks and a grand prize package
A balloon drop at 9 p.m. aligns with the stroke of midnight Eastern time, and gives families an opportunity to leave a little earlier. An outdoor fireworks show at midnight in Abbotsford marks the 2017 countdown.
Special grand prize package this year is a four-night RV rental by Fraserway RV, four nights’ campsite rental at Holiday Trails RV Resorts in Bridal Falls, $100 Walmart gift card, and $100 Shell gas gift card.
And the Tradex 25th anniversary scratch-and-win prize tickets will also be distributed during First Night.
“The best part is, even though I am working, I get to experience all the fun from start to finish,” laughed Styba, who will be at Tradex until the event winds down just after midnight. Doors open at 5 p.m.
Purchase tickets for First Night here. For more event info, go to www.fvtradex.com
For anyone looking for the sweetest holiday treasures, WE invite YOU to participate in the Passport to Christmas.
From November 1st to December 22nd, Lower Mainland residents are invited to visit 10 local businesses, specializing in the unique and memorable, where everyone can ‘shop, stamp, and win’!
The Passport to Christmas partner list includes:
To play, participants are asked to pick up a passport at any of these stops, visit as many as possible, answer a trivia question, get the passport stamped, and then to drop it back off at any of the businesses. Plus, a bonus stamp is rewarded if a picture is posted on Instagram. Official hashtag is #PassporttoChristmas. In order to win, at least six stamps must be earned.
On December 23rd, two names will be drawn and awarded prizes. Prize #1 is the Ultimate Abbotsford Getaway, which includes chauffeured transportation around town, wine tasting at Singletree Winery, spa treatment, dinner for two at the new S+L Kitchen & Bar, and an overnight stay at Brookside Inn, one of Canada's Top 10 Small Hotels. Prize #2 is a private long-table dinner for 12 at Brambles Bistro.
It’s hard to visit all the stops in one day, which is why Abbotsford hotels are offering a 20% discount off their best available rate. Visitors simply need to quote Passport to Christmas upon booking. Hotels include:
To add to the merriment, Abbotsford has two Christmas tree lightings and festivals on November 19th at High Street and November 25th in Historic Downtown Abbotsford. From 3-9pm, the Historic Downtown's Winter Jubilee has an artisan night market, talented musicians, street carollers, fun eats, and a few more surprises in store. High Street has Santa Clause, dancing elves, and promises a magical snowfall.
Passport to Christmas accommodates all budgets and has something for everyone. To learn more, visit www.passporttochristmas.ca
Well-loved items, thousands of visitors and a stress-free venue make this show producer smile
As Leah Faulkner, show producer and manager for The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market, starts thinking about her third show Nov. 12–13 at Tradex, she just smiles about the stresses she and her husband Tom no longer encounter.
“Tradex is a stress reliever. It’s a whole package. They take care of the event security, parking, promoting, overall cleanup and take-down. I’ve done seven markets since 2012, and comparing our old rustic venue at the Maple Ridge Albion Fairgrounds with Tradex is a difference like night and day,” said Faulkner.
“While half the vendors used to be in barns and outside in the grass, and the facility fit what we were doing in a rustic sense, the weather was not always cooperative. My husband and I used to have to clean washrooms and manage the parking, too,” Faulkner said.
“Now the show-goers get to enjoy dry shopping and the time-worn pieces are protected from the elements.”
The show moved to Tradex initially because it grew too big and had too many shoppers and vendors. The first Tradex show was in November, 2015, second was in June this year, and what’s on tap this month is her third one. Even though Faulkner is a relative newcomer to the 120,000 square foot facility, she is happy to share her experiences for Tradex’s 25th anniversary.
Faulkner’s mother-in-law from the Prairies has an especially keen eye for farmhouse-style collectibles and taught her how to finish some of her great junking and garage-sale finds.
“When Tom and I were first married, we couldn’t afford the stuff in the big stores so we went to garage sales to acquire things cheaply. Eventually every room was finished and we got to the stage where we would love to find something new and different, but we would trade-out what we already had,” Faulkner said.
“Once we came home with a trailer full of furniture after looking for treasures and we consulted with others through Craigslist to put on a market. We had 35 vendors for the first show.”
The Olde Farmhouse Vintage Market places value on things that are well-loved and that are sometimes rusted, dented, and roughed up. Vendor names are cute, like Knotty Paintbrush, Glitter and Spice, Just A Tinker and Cottage Kisses. Some 125 vendors are participating in the next Tradex show.
“It’s a dream being at Tradex,” said Faulkner. “We attract an audience of 6,000 people over the weekend. We don’t have stages, but we have vendors who sell paint and give tutorials on how to finish their projects.” Finished projects are also available.
Faulkner does not consider herself a hoarder—far from it. But there are certain items with which she just cannot part; her grandmother’s old quilt she used to wrap around herself when she was young is one of them.
A special find in her home is a pie cupboard. “I love the colour of the wood. It is rustic. It is sentimental and makes my imagination work. What little old lady cooled her special pies in this piece of furniture?”
For Faulkner, the show at Tradex also offers a message for the next generation. “We love to teach our kids we shouldn’t be a throw-away society,” she said.
And because of that, she believes her show at Tradex contributes to making the world a better place.
More from the ExploreAbby Blog:
A refreshing, crisp breeze, the leaves changing colour, pumpkin-spiced lattés…all signs that fall has arrived. The change of seasons doesn’t mean that we should be spending time indoors. In fact, quite the opposite!
We are talking about colourful pumpkin patches, vibrant apple orchards, daunting corn mazes, bumpin’ hayrides and so much more. Our list of fall destinations has something for everyone.
And, while most are family-friendly, we have a few activities that are better suited for the adult kid in all of us, like craft beer stations and haunted experiences in corn mazes.
So, whether you're looking to stock up on decorative gourds, master the perfect pumpkin pie with locally grown pumpkins, make jars of tree-fresh applesauce, or spend the day having ‘fall family fun’, Abby has you covered.
Come prepared. Bring shoes and pants you can get dirty. And, don't forget to layer.
Family-friendly | Dog-friendly (on leash) | Designed for adults, but fun for the whole family.
Taves Family Farms (Applebarn Pumpkin Farm)
Family-friendly | No dogs | Free admission to the apple orchard and pumpkin patch
Admission for attractions: Applebarn pass includes most attractions. Free for children 2 and under. See website for details).
Open daily until November 1st.
@tavesfarms on Instagram and Twitter and @tavesfamilyfarms on Facebook
Maan Farms COUNTRY EXPERIENCE & ESTATE WINERY
Family-friendly | No dogs | Family-friendly with experiences just for teenagers and adults
Willow View Farms
Family-friendly | No dogs please | No general admission rates
Coming from the east on Highway 1, head to Abby Roadside and then take the Sumas Way exit to Huntingdon Road where you can visit Maan Farms, Taves Farms, and Willow View Farms all within a 10-minute stretch.
Coming from the west on Highway 1, reverse it and take the Sumas Way exit to Huntingdon Rd to visit Maan Farms, Taves Farms and Willow View Farms before heading back on the Highway to hit Abby Roadside.
The BC Summer Games are in Abbotsford from July 21 to 24th. We're excited to welcome all the participants, families and friends to our city. Find time in between competitions and take a few hours to explore these exciting ideas and adventures below. Go Abby Games!
1. Circle Farm Tour
While in Abbotsford, don’t miss our Circle Farm Tour. This self-guided tour takes you through our country side and will lead you to a variety of specialty farm gate vendors, charming eateries, a barn full of antiques and the best ice cream you will ever eat. Download Guide
Walk through the heart of Abbotsford and discover vintage stores, charming boutiques and delicious eateries while in Historic Downtown. It’s the perfect meld of past and present, where you will find unique restored heritage buildings and shopping.
3. Castle Fun Park
A free-admission, family amusement park offering year round excitement for everyone. From mini golf, go carts, batting cages and arcade games, Castle Fun Park is a great place to bring the kids for an afternoon in Abbotsford.
4. Beer & Wine Tour
Sip, Savour and Share on the Abbotsford Beer & Wine Tour! Download the map to start your self-guided tour of our local craft breweries and wineries. While tasting, take time to discover the unique flavours of our valley. Download Map
5. Walks, Trails & Mountain Biking
Enjoy the great outdoors with the whole family in Abbotsford's 157 parks consisting of over 2,584 acres of parkland and 98 kilometers of urban trails. From Mill Lake Park to Sumas Mountain, there is so much terrain to be discovered by you. More info here. Photo Credit: Mona Lucas
6. Comedy Show
Enjoy a laugh at Canada’s national stand-up comedy club, Yuk Yuk’s. Shows run nightly Wednesday to Saturday. Check out their website to see who's in town while you're here.
7. Visit a Museum
Abbotsford is a city rich in talent, culture and history. While you check out all the museums, galleries, & artisans, don't forget to tour all the public art that can be found throughout Abbotsford. More info here.
Let us be your guide as you hunt for those one-of-a-kind items during your stay. Sevenoaks Shopping Centre is centrally located and likely has all that you need. If you’re looking for an outdoor shopping centre, check out Highstreet – a new, open-air shopping centre located at Mt.Lehman interchange.
The lush greenery of Abbotsford is home to a variety of courses that are open year-round! Regardless of your swing, there is a tee waiting for you. During your next stay, take a visit to Fraserglen or Ledgeview Golf Course. More info here.
Seeking thrill & adventure? Why not book a trip with Vancouver Skydive and experience the Drop Zone which is located in scenic Abbotsford. All of their Tandem Skydives are done with an experienced and qualified Tandem Instructors!
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