Event coordinator Merri Crow noted, from her perspective, that the biggest obstacle of the weekend was simply being the first time an event like this had ever been done. She said they learned a lot about things that can be done differently, and how to improve on what has been started.
Overall, she feels that the biggest challenges are actually good ones to have.
Joel McCay, owner of The Nines and Yellowhammer Photography, said, “We had an amazing time during ‘Small Town Christmas.’ As business owners, we appreciate the extra traffic the event brought in allowing us to have a successful weekend.
“As part of the team that worked the event, we enjoyed meeting new people and reuniting with friends. As members of the community, we enjoyed all of the festivities and the fellowship. We absolutely loved the parade coming through downtown, and the carriage rides were very nostalgic.
“We hope this is something that continues to grow and become a yearly tradition.”
The Blount County-Oneonta Agri-Business Center had more than 2,000 people enter their doorways for ice skating and visiting the pop-up shops. The Agri-Business Center wants to give back to the community and plans on purchasing Christmas for 10 needy families in Blount County.
Agri-Business Center event chairperson Chelsea Tipton Walker said, “I have no idea where to begin to describe the ‘Small Town Christmas’ weekend. Thanks to the community’s support, we had an attendance of approximately 2,000 people at the Agri-Business Center throughout the entire weekend.
“We have a lot of ideas in the works for next year. We will be doubling the amount of carriage rides we offer, we have plans to expand the size of the ice rink, and invite a few more pop-up shops to attend.
“As chair of this event for the Agri-Business Center, I will say that my team and I had our work cut out for us. We set the expectation high and now we want to be able to make sure we bring an even better ‘Small Town Christmas’ next year. Again, I would like to thank our sponsors; this event could not have happened without them.”
Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce executive director Aimee Wilson summed up the three days of festivities by saying, “What a wonderful weekend in Blount County. It was awesome to see so many people around town starting with the lighting of the Christmas tree to the parade to ice skating and carriage rides.
“We are blessed to live in a community that comes out and supports our local shops and local events. I want to thank the Agri-Business Center for allowing us to be a part of such a special event. I also want to thank the city of Oneonta for all it does.
“Without their support and the support of the Oneonta Police Department, there is no way we could put on an event of this magnitude. I can’t wait until next year.”