Merrie Olde Millbank Eliminates Every Trace of Nostalgia in Town
Local News - Newsmakers
Written by Helen Hamilton   
Friday, 11 December 2015 19:56

MILLBANK – Just in time for the Christmas holidays, Millbank finds itself decked out in fragrant pine boughs and red velvet ribbons. Carolers in Victorian garb stroll and sing such classics as, “The Holly and the Ivy” and “The Wastrel in the Gutter”. It’s Merrie Olde Millbank time again, running through Sunday, December 13.

The Millbank Boosters Club began the historic holiday festival in 1998, in order to attract local shoppers to the downtown area. However, while the crowds at local businesses are still light, the festival has had another effect entirely – making residents grateful for the conveniences and technological advances of the modern age.

“It’s events like this that make me glad that I live in the 21st century, “ said Fran Bowland, 37, one of the festival’s attendees on Sunday night. “Before today, I had no idea that people in the olden days cooked macaroni for 2 whole hours or kicked small children down the stairs for fun.” This is Bowland’s first time to Merrie Olde Millbank, and she brought her husband with her for a festive evening on the town.

“I have a new understanding what it feels like to itch all the time from wool underclothes and scabies,” added Jim Bowland, 38. “Or, how drunk everyone is at all hours of the day. I’m so glad we’ve moved beyond this.”

Emma Bartlett, associate chair of the Millbank Boosters Club, admits that in its early days, Merrie Olde Millbank did not attempt the same degree of historical accuracy that it has this year. “It was more about lighting up Main Street and offering free hot apple cider to shoppers. But that just didn’t seem like enough of an effort in this day and age. People demand more of an experience, and we had to get gritty to compete with all those tablets and smartphones out there. So we teamed up with the Millbank Historical Society to really bring folks back to what it was like here over 100 years ago.”

“We can’t help it if Millbank was a dump 100 years ago,” says Bartlett.

But some things never change in Millbank. Visitors to the festival will notice dozens of scruffy, lazy kids lounging on street corners and alleys. “They called them street urchins back then, but they are really just hooligans,” comments local resident, Marie Fenword, 84.

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Last Updated on Friday, 11 December 2015 19:58

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