PARKE, COUNTY, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — With last year’s Bridgeton Country Christmas scaled back due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Parke County leaders said they intend to make this year better than ever.

Vendors and businesses are preparing to welcome families for the holidays. Mike Roe, owner and operator of the Bridgeton Mill, said he can’t wait to welcome families back.

“Sometimes I think half of Illinois shows up here you know with Chicago or Illinois,” Roe said. “This atmosphere. It’s slowed down. It’s just easy going and you have all the covered bridges and all the historic buildings.”

Not only is it an opportunity for people to do some Christmas shopping, it also helps local businesses.

“It’s not a fundraiser for the county but it is for people and that always reflects in income taxes,” Jim Meece, President of Parke County Board of Commissions, said. “More things available, more people aware of what’s going on in the county. So the more things that we can do to attract people to come see what we have that can result in people moving in or businesses coming. So it’s just far beyond just economic activity of that moment that really expands all through the year.

Leaders of the event said a special guest could make an appearance to see the kids.

“Majority of the vendors here during this will be homemade,” Roe said. “A lot of them are local. Santa Claus will be there.”

Meece said this event allows consumers to buy exactly what they see without having to worry if their purchase will arrive in time for the holidays.

“Especially this year with all the supply chain troubles that we’re having and you can’t trust online if your products are even going to be available,” Meece said. “So to be able to come to a shop and really see what it is you’re going to buy and pick it up and hold it and make sure that’s right. That’s a great opportunity for people who don’t have that this year.”

The Bridgeton Country Christmas will be the weekend after Thanksgiving and Dec. 3 through Dec. 5.