The Ashley Village Council and the Ashley Country Christmas Planning Committee are heartbroken to announce that there will not be a 2020 Village of Ashley Country Christmas. The Country Christmas has been the destination for the thousands of guests on the North Pole Express excursions operated by the Steam Railroading Institute since 2013. We have so enjoyed our guests from all over Michigan, the United States and the world arriving by train and driving in to the festivities. Given the uncertainty of the health department and the village’s insurance company, the difficult decision was made to not continue to plan the Country Christmas for this year.
At every step in our decision process, we considered the impact on everyone involved, along with the time and effort, deadlines fast approaching, vendor contract requirements, and the overall costs of the event that go into planning the Country Christmas. The safety and health of our guests, volunteers, entertainers, vendors and our entire community is our priority when making our decisions. We are currently in Phase 4 of the Governor’s Michigan Safe Start Plan. Large gatherings like ours hosting over 4800 guests each weekend are not allowed until Phase 6. To advance into Phase 6 requires 30 days with no new COVID-19 cases, a vaccine and treatment medication. Reaching these risk prevention levels soon enough, and having the full experience of the joyous Country Christmas we strive to present is just not feasible for 2020.
Evaluating all these factors led to the decision that we cannot confidently plan for a 2020 Country Christmas. We are disappointed and know this is disappointing to our guests and to our community. Please join us in looking ahead to a joyous Country Christmas in 2021.
Anne Paksi, President
Ashely Village Council
Roger Keck, Chair
Ashley Country Christmas Planning Committee
About the Village of Ashley Country Christmas.
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- Destination of the North Pole Express train trips November 16 - December 21, 2019, Saturday and Sunday!
- Please note: train tickets for the North Pole Express ride are sold by the Steam Railroading Institute, information can be found at their website www.michigansteamtrain.com and on Facebook at Steam Railroading Institute. Tickets for this 2019 season are sold out. Signing up for email notification for 2020 tickets can be done at www.michigansteamtrain.com/notifications
- Come and visit the Village of Ashley's Country Christmas celebration. Starting the middle of November the village will be transformed into an old fashioned Country Christmas. Stroll the streets and enjoy the beautiful 1940's inspired decorations. See the big Christmas tree, take a horse drawn wagon ride, watch stage and street entertainment or visit the hobo camp.
- When you're hungry stop into the North Pole Express Cafe, Schall's Burger Barn, the Hobo Kitchen, On The Go food truck, Grub Hub food truck, Whistle Stop Cafe, or Zachzilla's food truck. See the menus at our Eateries button. For sweet treats check the offerings under our Eateries button.
- Oh, the holiday shopping! You'll find handmade gifts, home decor, presents to stuff stockings, children's gifts, Country Christmas souvenirs, train memorabilia, chain saw carved figures, garnet jewelry and much more.
- You can watch the chain saw carver creating delicately sculpted wildlife figures.
- Visit Santa's reindeer, watch your child make a wooden toy at Santa's Workshop. There are the old fashioned children's carnival games and the life size Christmas Candy Land game.
- If you're in town at the right time, you'll get to greet the North Pole Express as she steams into town.
- And the highlight of your visit will be seeing Santa and just maybe being chosen for the First Gift of Christmas!