Johnson Holiday Jubilee fosters a community


Kayla Friedrich

The Grinch and Cindy Lou Who greeted people at Maple Addictions

Johnson Works motto i “There’s something happening in Johnson,” and on Friday, Dec. 4 big things happened as they pulled the community together for another year of the annual Johnson Holiday Jubilee.

“The Jubilee is a fun event. It’s huge,” said Johnson Works President Greg Stefanski. “It involves about 25 scavenger hunt sites this year.”

One of the big things at the Jubilee is a scavenger hunt, which came about as a way to bring awareness to all of the local shopping options in Johnson.

According to Stefanski, following the Powerhouse Bridge reopening, and the community celebration that occurred shortly after, Johnson Works realized that the community business connection can be pretty powerful, and together they can benefit the businesses while also doing some fun things with community members.

“That’s when we came up with the Jubilee,” said Stefanski, “because we thought it would be a great way to remind people about all of the businesses here in town during the holidays. This event brings folks out onto our Main Street.”

For the scavenger hunt participants got a card, either printed from or from the village green during the event, with all the businesses that were staying open late for the Jubilee. In order to be submitted into the prize drawing at the end of the night, adults had to visit 20 of the 25 participating vendors, and children had to visit 7 or 8. Some of the vendors required participants to answer a trivia question in order to get a stamp on their card.

This allowed businesses to interact and connect with people, and it forced community members to visit and check out their local establishments. After collecting the stamps, participants headed back to the village green to put their cards in the box. At the end of the event, around 7:15, about 30 gift certificates, donated items and cash prizes were given away.

Last year, nearly 400 people participated in the hunt, but the scavenger hunt isn’t the only event being offered.

“The scavenger hunt is kind of the big to do,” Stefanski added, “and each year it grows, and we are able to reach a little bit farther. All of the other events, we hope, just accentuate the great thing about this community.”

Other events included a potato toss, hot chocolate and chili, food collection for the Johnson Food Shelf, kid’s craft and shopping, kid’s ornament making, visits with Santa, wagon rides, a number of music events such as Town Administrator Duncan Hastings playing the bag pipes, church choirs, the Lamoille Union Band and a caroling group, and much more.

“When you look at Johnson’s downtown, it has that look of the quintessential New England town,” said Stefanski. “When it’s all decorated and lit up, it’s that postcard holiday picture, and caroling is a throw back to something we don’t see very often anymore in the community.”

The town lit a Christmas tree and all of their holiday lights as well as put up the seasonal banners at this event after the annually lit-up S.D. Ireland Truck visits the village green.

Johnson Works currently has about 30 members, including a 12-member board, which meets once a month to put together events and coordinate projects in Johnson, but they couldn’t have put this event together without the many sponsors from throughout the municipality.

“We could not do this event without the financial support we get from the businesses, from the village, from the town and from individuals who donate to this event,” said Stefanski. “Then we have a corps group from Johnson Works members who pull it all together. It’s a group effort, and a lot of fun. We’d love to see many people come out.”
Events ran from 3 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., and were free and open to the public.