A holiday market and fundraiser was hosted by United Steelworkers Local 7884 on Dec. 11 and 12 which raised money for the Elkford food bank. The event was organized by volunteer Milan Belisle, who is pictured on the right next to Karen Mills, organizer for the Elkford food bank. (Courtesy of Milan Belisle)

A holiday market and fundraiser was hosted by United Steelworkers Local 7884 on Dec. 11 and 12 which raised money for the Elkford food bank. The event was organized by volunteer Milan Belisle, who is pictured on the right next to Karen Mills, organizer for the Elkford food bank. (Courtesy of Milan Belisle)

Valentine’s market in Elkford seeks to support small businesses and animal rescue organization

The event will be occur on Saturday, Feb. 12, at Elkford Union Hall between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m.

A Valentine’s market is coming to Elkford on Saturday (Feb. 12) intended to support local small businesses and raise money for Twin Meadows Animal Rescue.

The event, called ‘Valentines Market & Fundraiser’ is being hosted by United Steelworkers (USW) Local 7884 at Elkford Union Hall on Feb. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is being organized by Milan Belisle, who volunteers to organize events for the union, and owns BITE ME – freeze dried food, which has been operating for about a month now.

There are 22 local, Elk Valley vendors and artisans who are set to be present and selling their goods at the market on Saturday.

“We have a lot of small businesses around here and artisans, and we thought the market and fundraiser would be a great opportunity for everyone to get out and promote their business and just support each other locally during this crazy time,” Belisle said.

Some examples of those set to be present at the market will be potters, a coffee maker, liqueur vendor, a flower shop, jewellers, and a chocolatier, Belisle said. She will also be present as a vendor selling her freeze dried food products (her first time selling at a market was last week in Hosmer).

There will also be a photographer present for “mini photoshoots outside by the fire.”

“We just have lots of shopping that everybody can do for Valentine’s Day. I think we have a lot of vendors that will be great. And then our outdoor photoshoot is Valentine’s theme. We’ve got a cozy fire scene with our photographer there… we have the flower shop coming from Sparwood, and chocolates — who doesn’t eat chocolate on Valentine’s Day?”

But supporting local businesses, facilitating Valentine’s Day shopping and taking photos is not all they will be doing at Union Hall on Saturday. They will also be raising money to support Twin Meadows Animal Rescue Society, a non-profit organization based in the East Kootenays that rescues and re-homes animals.

The money will be raised in a few ways. There will be a raffle that market-goers can enter via donation at the door with gift-basket prizes filled with items from the vendors. Also, the money that would usually be paid by the vendors and artisans to rent their table spaces will be donated to the animal rescue instead. And, vendors and artisans will be donating items from their businesses.

Belisle said that she knows it’s been “crazy hard” to run a small business during a pandemic.

“So we just thought an opportunity, and if we can raise money for an amazing cause at the same time, it was just a win-win.”

Belisle also helped to organize a holiday market and fundraiser in mid-December with the union, which raised money for the Elkford food bank. They had 192 people come through that market, and collected $1050.80, plus an additional $2,500 donated by USW Local 7884 for the food bank.

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josh.fischlin@thefreepress.ca

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