Shoppers wanting to taste the variety of a larger Christmas market without skipping the charm of a homey craft fair are marking their calendars for this Friday and Saturday.
The third annual Christmas in Cloverdale Gift and Craft Marketplace offers a lifeline for shoppers who don’t want to cross a bridge but still want to find unique gifts for the people on their list.
More than 100 vendors were expected as of last week, organizer Heather Harasymow said, adding she expected a last-minute crunch of additional bookings.
Admission is free this year, but shoppers are reminded to bring along a donation for the Surrey Food Bank.
When she started the Christmas market in 2009, there was very little in the way of larger-scale craft fairs in the area.
“You have to go across a bridge” to experience anything large-scale, she said. “We wanted to have something in this area, and also help out the local business owners.”
The marketplace is designed to be family-friendly so parents can bring the kids along.
Santa will be making appearances both days, giving kids a chance to lobby St. Nick for their wish lists in person. Plus, Imagine Itz Magic is presenting Make Your Own Craft for kids and adults.
“She shows how to make your own Christmas craft, so everyone can take something home,” says Harasymow, a busy mother of four youngsters.
Joseph the Magician will also be performing magic tricks and making balloon animals for kids and adults.
With so many different tables to take in, “it’s hard to go in and just go out. There’s just so many vendors. It’s where I start my Christmas shopping.”
It’s a great place to find teacher gifts, she adds.
There’s a range of items and vendors.
“We try and really balance it well, to have something for everybody,” she said, describing the marketplace as “somewhere in the middle” between a church bazaar and a big convention centre craft fair.
Multilevel marketers have been allowed to rent tables on a trial basis this year.
“It’s the new way to work from home. They’re really popular, too.”
The marketplace features everything from home baked goods, woodwork, handmade hats and quilts to organic skin care products, candles, authors, and even a crafter who makes items from recycled sweaters.
“We’ve got everything!” she says.
Other items include photographs, clay figurines, hand sewn dolls, honeybee hive products, nautical toys, candy, reusable lunch bags, and hoodies that make the wearer appear like an elf.
There will also be stone planters, handbags, ornamental iron and Christmas tree ornaments and decorations.
Over 1,200 people attended last year, and Harasymow expects offering free admission will draw out even more this year.
People are encouraged to bring along a donation for the Surrey Food Bank.
There will also be a food concession selling hot dogs and other fare.
The two-day event runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Dec. 2, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 3 at Shannon Hall and the Alice McKay building at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.
For more information, visit www.christmasincloverdale.com.