This will be Downtown Williams Lake BIA executive director Sherry Yonkman’s first time organizing the association’s Winter Lights event taking place Saturday, Dec. 4.
Hired as the executive director in March of this year, she is not only new to the event but is navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic like everyone else.
On Tuesday, Nov. 23, she was busy painting some decorations for the window of the BIA office at the corner of Oliver Street and Third Avenue.
She’s challenged downtown businesses to participate in the BIA’s window decorating contest and figured she should step up to the plate.
“I am not artistic,” she said, chuckling as she looked at the fireplace she was painting. “I was just thinking to myself that it would be great to have those Cariboo Art Beat artists here to help.”
There is a theme to the window decorating contest of a Fairy Tale Christmas and prizes for best overall window, and subsequent best traditional, best modern and best re-purposed or recycled fairy tale.
Yonkman created a Downtown Williams Lake Coupon Booklet 2021 that features 17 different downtown businesses. The booklets arrived from the printers recently.
They are valid until Dec. 24, 2021 and coupon users wanting to enter to win a $500 shopping spree at any of the participating downtown locations must enter by Dec. 28 for the draw date of Dec. 30.
Eight businesses have committed to host activities on Saturday, Dec. 4 in the afternoon which will be published in next week’s edition of the Tribune.
When it comes to Christmas, Yonkman is a fan.
“It is all about our little family being together,” she said.
Yonkman and her husband Mike Yonkman’s two adult children, Amanda and David, do not live in Williams Lake but will be coming home for Christmas.
“We always read Twas the Night Before Christmas, open one present and the rest on Christmas morning. Mike makes a big breakfast and I am in charge of the turkey.”
This year they will put up an artificial tree, something they purchased when they had a wood stove, and she said they are committed to using until it wears out.
In the meantime, she encourages businesses to register for the window decorating contest, invites the public to attend the tree lighting on Saturday, Dec. 4, and to consider bringing donations of warm winter hats, gloves, toques, and scarves for The Giving Tree or non-perishable food items for the Women’s Contact Society food shelf for women in need.
When asked about a favourite Christmas present memory she paused.
Suddenly her eyes lit up and she smiled.
“One year mom made me Barbie furniture out of cigarette cartons covered with fabric,” she said.
“We didn’t have a lot of money when I was growing up and I was thrilled. I had a Barbie couch and chair covered with a 70’s pattern.”
Yonkman grew up in Cranbrook, and moved to Williams Lake in 2008.
She has been hearing from some business owners about supply chain issues with orders placed in July not showing up until November, but has not heard any other complaints.
Cognizant that some people are disappointed there is no Winter Lights parade this year, Yonkman is hopeful next year will be a different story.