On December 9, 2023, Rediscover Martinsville invites you to join them in downtown Martinsville for one of our very favorite events of the year - the Martinsville Cookie Stroll! So, what's the Cookie Stroll all about and how does it work? Well, it's a day of fun for cookie lovers for sure, but also for those who simply like to explore and enjoy a beautiful downtown filled with seasonal holiday decorations and entertainment.
This annual event features dozens of home-baked cookies made by volunteer bakers. Participants who have purchased tickets will exchange each ticket for an official Cookie Passport on the day of the event. This year's event headquarters will be the Art Sanctuary of Indiana, on the corner of Sycamore and Pike Streets. That passport allows participants to collect a cookie at each official stop along the stroll. There's also a wide variety of entertainment at various locations throughout the day including live music, carolers, Santa, candy cane pours and even llamas!
Passport ticket sales will take place online this year, via Eventbrite. Once you've purchased your tickets, simply show up at the Art Sanctuary on December 9, beginning at 10 am to exchange your ticket for the official passport and map. Then, collect your cookies from 10 am to 5 pm. Passports are $20 each in advance or $25 the day of the event, if any are still available.
Be sure to plan to enjoy downtown dining at a local eatery as part of your day! Shopping along the way is strongly encouraged, of course, but this is also a great opportunity to get your family into locally owned shops and boutiques, then make note of what they each notice or admire. That way, you can swing back by on a later shopping trip to surprise them with their choices!
We encourage everyone to pick up a Cookie Passport ticket early - the event is almost always a complete sell-out - but here are a couple of pro tips for Cookie Stroll:
Pro Tip #1: How Many Passports Do You Really Need?
You may not need a passport for each person in your party. Seriously - you'll go home with a LOT of cookies. Also, keep in mind for those strolling with kids - many of the cookie stroll cookies are heirloom recipes, so they may or not be friendly to your kids' little taste buds, depending on the variety. Using my family as an example, there were always a handful of cookies that my son just wasn't interested in trying when he was younger. So think about who you're going with and how many tickets you really need to buy. It's perfectly do-able to purchase one or two passports for your whole family or friend group and split up the cookies afterward. They're all individually packaged, so it's easy to separate them at the end of the day.
Pro Tip #2: Can You Get Last Minute Passports?
If you didn't get your ticket purchased in time, or you have more people in your party than you anticipated, you may still have an option.in the event that there are unclaimed passports on the day of the event, they will be resold beginning at 11 am, so you might be able to snag one last-minute on the day of Cookie Stroll. (Don't worry - ticket holders are contacted to make sure they aren't just running late.) There are usually between 10-20 cookie passports up for grabs on the day of the event. You'll pay a bit more for them on the day of the event, but you may be one of the lucky ones to grab one of these extra passports.
**Please don't depend on this as an option, as each year is different and there may not be extras, but it's good to know, just in case.
Pro Tip #3: Have an Amazing Day Even Without A Passport!
Didn't get a ticket, AND missed out on the last minute extras on the day of the event? Don't worry - seriously, you can still have all the fun (well, without the extra cookie calories)! Here are a few good reasons why you might consider spending at least part of your Saturday in Martinsville, even if you DON'T have a Cookie Passport. . .
- The Morgan County Farmers Market Association's annual Holiday Market will be held at the Art Sanctuary during the Cookie Stroll. Here's where you'll find lots of locally crafted items to fill out your holiday shopping list. All items at the market are handcrafted and made by (or grown by) local or regional vendors.
- Many of the Art Sanctuary's resident artists will also be on hand in their studios offering fine art for sale, which always makes a wonderful gift!
- Enjoy live holiday entertainment throughout the day at various locations. Be sure to stop in at the Main Street Stage at Tom Fiddlery, a fun downtown intimate performance venue, where Tom himself is often providing holiday tunes on his fiddle for cookie strollers to enjoy.
- Stop in at local shops around the downtown area. Some will have refreshments available (even for non-passport holders) as well as great holiday deals. The Sterling Butterfly features jewelry artist Pam Hurst's unique designs, including Indiana-themed pieces. De Lyn Jewelry features a variety of jewelry and ladies' accessories. Berries and Ivy Country Store features fun home decor, jewelry, textiles and hand-painted gourds and don't miss Reinvention with beautifully reimagined furniture and home decor items. Several other shops will be open as well! Don't miss Her Boutique on Washington Street, The Painted Cottage on Morgan Street, and more. Pop into The Glazed Gypsy to create your own work of art, or schedule a party for your family or friends!
- Live entertainment, including Christmas carolers, can also be found throughout the day at many of the shops and other locations around town that are serving as cookie stops, as well outdoors along the route - all entertainment is free and open to all. Be sure to catch the talented local dancers from Studio J2 Dance - they'll be doing live window displays at the studio on North Main Street throughout the day and performing at the Art Sanctuary along with several other talented young performers.
- Letters to Santa! You'll find a magical mailbox at the Morgan County History Center & Museum, one of this year's cookie stops. You can explore the area's history through fun exhibits, then post your letter to Santa before you leave so he'll be sure to get it before Christmas!
- Great Food! Many of the downtown area's restaurants are also cookie stops, so they will be busy throughout the day and some will host live entertainment as well! Be sure to check out our list in advance so you know where to go to fit your family's tastes: Martinsville Area Locally-Owned Restaurants. Kick off the day with a tasty breakfast, take a break for lunch or indulge in dinner before you head home!
- Those with kids will want to visit Fables & Fairy Tales on Main Street for sure. This adorable book shop will have gift ideas for kids of all ages.
- Llamas! Yes - llamas. Pet them, take a llama selfie, simply enjoy these friendly, docile animals. The local 4-H llama club will be on hand with several llamas (and alpacas, too!) for you to meet.
- Candy Canes! It will be Saturday, so you know the Martinsville Candy Kitchen will be cooking up a batch of holiday candy canes (maybe even two or three!). The magical transformation of boiling liquid into sweet, solid peppermint-flavored holiday cheer is one of Martinsville's favorite Christmas miracles. Check their Facebook page so you know when demonstrations will take place.
- A very large model train display will be open for viewing at Key Bank on Main Street. This cool model train is a 25+ year tradition that's packed with fun local references and is open for viewing during the bank's normal hours until December 31, but on Cookie Stroll day, it's often accompanied by live music as well! The train display is courtesy of the Morgan County Model Railroad Association.
- Keep an eye open for Peppermint the Penguin, who will be wandering about downtown and making appearances at various cookie stops throughout the day. Peppermint is very friendly and loves sharing his favorite candy (peppermints, of course) with all his new friends. He loves to take selfies, too, so be sure to get your photo taken with him!
- If you have friends with Cookie Passports, you can spend the day with them. . . and, in my experience, they will almost always share at least a couple of cookies! (If your friends are stingy, there will be free cookies for all at Cookie Stroll Headquarters - a.k.a. the Art Sanctuary.)
IF YOU GO:
For even more added fun on the day of the Cookie Stroll, here are a few other fun family experiences in the area you won't want to miss after you're finished collecting those cookies!
- If you finish up early, Morgan County Parks and Recreation invites you to enjoy Santa in the Park on December 9 at Old Town Waverly Park, north of Martinsville. They'll have visits with Santa at the historic bank building as well as lots of other activities including Christmas carols and traditional arts demonstrations, such as blacksmithing and more!
- Cedar Creek Winery and Brew Co. a Christmas party version of their popular Speakeasy Soiree event on December 9. This is a fun 1920s era themed party for those 21+. Celebrate the holiday season and the era of Jazz with live music, libations and more! Not just anyone can get into this joint, though. Make sure you get the password beforehand so you can join the fun! (Purchase your tickets via Eventbrite to get that secret password.)
- Once the sun sets, you'll want to drive through the Winter Wonderland Festival of Lights at Jimmy Nash City Park. The park is open until 10 pm (don't worry, the gate will automatically open when you leave if you're in the park prior to 10 pm) and the light display features a variety of fun characters and creative scenes. Come just before dark for fun photo ops!