By Alyson Queen –
Looking for that unique gift for Christmas? Tired of the rush and stress of retail box stores and malls? Ready to get into the spirit of the season and support your local community? Although it seems that many traditions have lost their way in this digital age, the tradition of Christmas bazaars is not just alive and well in Kitchissippi – it’s flourishing.
The very popular “Fall Fair at First” took place at First Unitarian Congregation on November 19. The Fall Fair dates back to the 1970s and line-ups often start over an hour ahead of the doors opening. The All Saints’ Westboro Village Fair on Richmond Road was also a popular venue that day, offering up delicious homemade preserves and baking, and a huge selection of used books, linens, china, and jewelry. Sales were brisk at both venues, despite the inclement weather.
The approach for many of the organizers is similar. These annual events are significant sources of revenue, but bring about as much community building as they do money.
Sherri Watson has been the director of the Fall Fair at First Unitarian for the past three years. “It does take a lot of work but tasks turn out to be so much fun,” says Sherri.
It’s a massive undertaking, with a dozen coordinators and volunteers running each of the many rooms that take over nearly 12,000 square feet of the church. A handy map helped shoppers find their way.
Items not purchased still have the chance to become someone’s treasures.
“Anything left over is given to other charities as much as possible,” says Sherri.
Those two popular fairs may have passed, but fear not shoppers, there are plenty of opportunities to support local artisans, entrepreneurs, and grassroots initiatives. The Fisher Park Christmas Craft Sale, which is organized by the Fisher Park Community Recreation Council, will feature over 100 vendors on Saturday, December 2. You’ll find local urban artisans, handmade items, and gourmet foods. Make sure to bring along a donation for the Parkdale Food Centre as the need only grows this time of year. The sale takes place at Fisher Park Public School on Holland Avenue, and both admission and parking are free.
The St. Martin’s “Christmas Bakeshop & Baubles Bonanza” is also on the docket on December 2. Located at 2120 Prince Charles Rd. the sale will include Christmas cakes baked by the church’s rector, Father John Organ, and you can also purchase 2018 desk calendars that showcase St. Martin’s stained glass windows. Additionally, there will be a limited number of original olive wood nativity carvings, produced near the West Bank.
An age-old tradition with a modern and local twist, there is no better way to start the holidays and support the scores of local organizers and artisans who make these neighbourhood events so special every year.