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December 4, 2013

Christmas Wonderfest brings holiday wonder to Novi

By Sherri Kolade
C & G Staff Writer

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Droves of attendees visit a past Wonderfest, which featured Michigan-made items, entertainment, shopping and more.

NOVI — Since 2011, the wonder and magic of Christmas have come to Novi with a visit from Santa, indoor rides and thousands of Michigan-made items ripe for the picking during Christmas Wonderfest.

From Dec. 5-8 at Suburban Collection Showplace, 46100 Grand River Ave., Christmas cheer and all the seasonal trimmings will be served up.

“This is about as big as it gets in this area,” said Wonderfest founder Mark Loeb, CEO of Integrity Shows, which produces the event.

He added in a press release that the event is a labor of love for all involved.

“We have had a terrific response from all kinds of small businesses from across Michigan, and lots of great community partnerships have been forged, as well. December is the perfect time to come together to celebrate all that we love about living in Michigan, and to shop locally for gifts and services,” he said in the release.

Kari Hughes, co-founder and owner of Monroe-based Buy the Change, will be a first-time vendor at Wonderfest, and she hopes to get the word out about the company — every item purchased goes toward economic opportunity and business-building for women in developing countries, according to http://www.buythechangeusa.org/.

“The things we sell are definitely different than what you could buy at any big box store,” she said of her merchandise, which includes everything from earrings and necklaces to blankets and pillows. “I hope a lot of people come out and enjoy themselves, and find great gifts for Christmas.”

Since 2011, Wonderfest included a holiday market and children’s celebration at Campus Martius Park for two weekends in downtown Detroit, according to the press release. This year, it will expand indoors at the Suburban Collection Showplace, offering seasonal treats, caroling choirs from throughout the region, indoor carousel rides, art and craft projects, and more.

Wonderfest is modeled after traditional European Christmas markets, Loeb said.

Loeb added that the goal of Wonderfest is to relive memorable Christmas traditions.

“Many people in Michigan are not old enough to remember the experience of going out to Hudson’s, our big department store, at Christmas,” Loeb said. “The experience for that was so overwhelming; you saw so many cool toys and cool decorations, and met with Santa. There is nothing to that extent here in Michigan anymore. That is what we were trying to re-create, so the kids can kind of experience that kind of wonder, and the adults can kind of reconnect with their joy from when they were kids.”

Christmas Wonderfest will be open 3-10 p.m. Dec. 5, 3-10 p.m. Dec. 6, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Dec. 7 and noon-7 p.m. Dec. 8.

The price is $7 for adults and $3 for children younger than 10 years old.

For more information, visit www.ChristmasWonderfest.com.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Sherri Kolade at skolade@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1046.