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Hundreds descend on George Bryson House Christmas Market

Sylvain Begin, a member of the Mansfield Fire Department, organized his second angel tree this year, working with the community and Bouffe Pontiac to ensure all children in the area receive a gift this Christmas.

Donald Teuma-Castelletti
Dec. 1, 2018
Vehicles from both sides of the river lined Hwy. 148 on Saturday, as hundreds flocked to an annual Christmas market in Mansfield et Pontefract so big, it couldn’t be contained indoors.
With weather as nice as the market enjoyed, the gathering at the George Bryson House was the perfect location for shoppers to browse everything locals had to offer, take their picture with Santa, enjoy a pony ride and more.
George Bryson House Vice President Nathalie Denault said it was the first time the museum’s committee oversaw organizing the market and that it had been a fun effort put on by the group. With funding provided by the municipalities of Fort Coulonge and Mansfield et Pontefract, as well as Pontiac MNA André Fortin’s office, the group was able to decorate the building extensively, as well as host 35 vendors.

She explained that with the change in organizational hands this year, the group was able to use the opportunity to sell more memberships to the George Bryson House. To help this, a raffle was being held for prizes totalling over $300, with anyone buying a membership receiving an entry. As well, the group also promoted new activities and events coming to the museum in the next year, including an art show and information resources within the building.
While some vendors occupied the top floor of the building, downstairs was where guests could enjoy a pit stop to load up on homemade chili, as served by the crew. Outside, vendors lined what is regularly the parking lot, many utilizing the kiosks owned by the museum, reminiscent of old-school lemonade stands, adding greatly to their aesthetic. As well, Santa and some of his helpers could be found here, where kids could have their pictures taken.
Finally, members of the Mansfield Fire Department were also present, promoting the return of a popular charitable effort. Starting last year, firefighter Sylvain Begin and Danielle Boucher began working through the department to ensure all local children receive a gift that Christmas with the efforts of an Angel Tree.
After the event proved so successful, they decided to bring it back once again. How it works is a donor takes a tag from the tree, featuring the gender and age of the child, and purchases a present to be given to them. Once wrapped, the present is dropped off and once all items have been collected, Begin and Boucher will deliver them to Bouffe Pontiac.
From there, Bouffe Pontiac will organize for the children to meet Santa and receive their gifts.
Begin said he began these efforts last year to give back to his community and was happy to continue organizing it because it represents Pontiacers helping each other.
“I can’t imagine a child without a gift on Christmas,” he said.
It appears many shared his line of thinking, as by noon that day, there was hardly a tag left on the tree.