It was easy to be inspired by the talent and passion on display at the Fernie Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday. Vendors packed the community centre with tables overflowing with handmade goods. Shoppers seemed to be loving it.
Painter Megan Haeusler noted that she has been selling her work at craft fairs for a couple of years now, and the Fernie Holiday Craft Fair was the busiest one she’s attended.
“It’s right before Christmas and lots of people want to get cards and people like to mail gifts away to England and Australia,” she explained.
Shoppers looking to get a headstart on their Christmas shopping certainly had plenty to choose from. All sorts of crafts were represented at the fair including everything from different types of textiles to jewelry and woodworking.
For some vendors, like woodworker Earl Nilsson, it all started out as a hobby. “I’ve been working on it for a lot of years,” he said. “I’m still a work in progress but I like wood. I find that it is intriguing the way that it can turn out if things go well and if not, it can end up in the fireplace.”
Nilsson isn’t the only crafter who turned their hobby into a business. Seventeen-year-old Emma Soetaert has been making crochet hats for almost five years now, playing around with a variety of materials and styles. Soetaert credits her mother with teaching her how to crochet and was very happy to be a vendor at the craft fair this weekend.
“It’s really cool actually. When I was little I loved coming here and I loved to look at all the creations because I was a really big shopper when I was little so it was really cool.”
The transition from shopper to vendor was a fruitful one for Soetaert, who estimates that she’s sold “probably well over 150 hats” since she started. She also noted that after all those years of practice, it only takes her about an hour to make a new hat from scratch.
All in all, the Holiday Craft Fair succeeded in connecting crafters and artisans from all over the Elk Valley with shoppers looking for unique, handmade gifts.
The event also succeeded in raising money for local organizations. Entry to the craft fair was by donation and the money collected went to two different initiatives.
The Friday night Twilight Craft Fair raised $1,081 for the Elk Valley Society for Community Living, according to the Fernie Craft Fair Facebook page. At the Holiday Craft Fair, they raised $1,509 for Outdoor Connections, a non-profit organization that delivers meaningful outdoor education programs that are meant to enrich the lives of children in the Elk Valley.
The T’is the Season Craft Fair will be on Dec. 15 at the Fernie Community Centre and is the perfect event for last minute shoppers.
Other upcoming winter events in Fernie include the Holiday Kick-off in downtown on Nov. 29, a Santa Claus Breakfast at Park Place Lodge on Dec.1, an Artisan Fair at The Arts Station on Dec. 7, and Holiday Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides at Fernie Alpine Resort on Dec. 21.