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‘Tis the season for craft fairs

Rossland and Trail crafters serve up local gift ideas
A world of wood toys surrounded Vic Parsolow of Fruitvale as he took in the Fruitvale Christmas Craft Fair at the Memorial Hall last weekend. Hundreds of people poured through the doors for the popular two-day craft fair to peruse over four-dozen tables of largely Christmas-themed works. For those who missed the Fruitvale fair

A group of crafters is making it easy to shop local in Greater Trail for Christmas with the fourth-annual Mistletoe Market this Saturday.

Thirty vendors – selling everything from pottery, Tupperware, handmade clothing, knits and more – are turning the Riverbelle into a festive shopping experience from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with $2 entrance per person and 10 per cent of the day’s sales and orders going to the La Nina Extreme Weather Emergency Shelter.

“At Christmas time people are looking for a reason to not just shop, but to shop locally,” said Rachel Jansen, who organizes the winter market and Blooming Creative in the spring with Erin Fance.

“When you’re giving back to the community that you’re shopping in and supporting people that are living in that community and creating in that community, it makes everybody feel good.”

New this year, Jennifer Geddes, instructor and owner of Kootenay Life Yoga, will be on hand to offer massage, Super Hoops will be demonstrating exercise hoola hoops, Shawna Erback will bring some of her prints and paintings from her studio, Off the Hook by Diane will display crochet creations and Simply Sweets will showcase its treats.

The energy will be high at the event that “sparks different ideas” between artisans, and is also a great place to catch up with residents getting some of their shopping done.

The market started as an idea to increase customers between local crafters in 2008. The first year it was held at the Warfield Hall, before moving downtown. But now with 10 vendors on a wait list, Jansen suspects the event will soon “burst” out of its current location.

Markets, specifically outdoor sales during the warmer weather, has been brought up as a way to attract people by the Downtown Opportunities and Action Committee, which is dedicated to revitalizing the core.

“This is a group of people that would totally be into doing an outdoor market,” added Jansen.

About $1,000 was raised at last year’s Mistletoe Market and since 2008, approximately $5,000 in total has been contributed to groups like the Sanctuary, the Salvation Army and the local Special Olympics.

The shelter was selected this year because the launch of its improved hours of operation from last year.

The space with warm beds just opened for the winter in the basement of the Salvation Army Church in East Trail.

“It’s something that (an adhoc-committee) just started last year and were running it by the skin of their teeth, really,” said Jansen. “We’re just trying to spread (funds) around, and it’s something that raises awareness for a really good cause in the community.”

To check out the full list of vendors, visit the event page on Facebook.

Rossland’s annual Homespun Christmas Craft Fair also rolls out this Saturday at the Prestige Inn from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. With $3 admission, shoppers can check out just fewer than 40 artisans’ homemade wears.

If this weekend doesn’t work, Waneta Plaza’s annual Christmas Craft Fair runs next Thursday to Sunday.