New flavours at Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market

The 42nd annual Christmas Craft Market features more than 175 artisans and it’s the Chilliwack Community Arts Council’s biggest fundraiser

Organizers of the Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market have brought in several craft breweries

Organizers of the Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market have brought in several craft breweries

The Halloween decorations are packed away, Remembrance Day has passed, and now it’s time to kick off the holiday season.

What better way to get into the Christmas spirit than with the 42nd annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market?

The annual, juried market showcases nearly 200 artists and artisans and it’s the Chilliwack Community Arts Council’s biggest fundraiser. The three-day event is at Chilliwack Heritage Park this weekend.

“It helps support everything else we do in the community for the rest of the year,” says arts council executive director Patti Lawn. “I think sometimes people forget that we are not-for-profit. This event supports a lot of the work we do, including supporting artist and artisans.”

More than 8,000 people flock to the Christmas Craft Market each year to find that perfect gift to give for the holidays, and with more than 175 vendors, there’s a little something for everyone.

Artists and artisans from across the province will be lined up to offer customers a little taste of what they’ve created.

New this year will be a handful of craft breweries, distilleries and small-batch wine makers on tap. After an incredibly successful test run last year featuring Dragon Mist Distillery, organizers invited more this year to add to the mix.

“We always have to keep our market fresh and interesting. Obviously the patrons are looking for something like this,” says Lawn, adding that guests will also get a chance to sample their work before buying.

More food vendors have been added to the market as well. They’ll be selling goods such as pierogies, chocolate, baked goods, preserves, and honey, to name a few.

Adding to the food and drink merchants are, of course, the non-edible gifts.

Aisles will be filled with an abundance of handcrafted artisan creations ranging from visual art, home décor, pottery, wood and metal work, glass, jewellery, toys, bath and body products, fibre art, clothing, and everything in between.

As you wander the booths, you’ll probably forget you’re in a barn thanks to the decorating efforts of Gatherings West.

“You will see some really classy, beautiful Christmas decorations that will seem like we’re not in barn but in a wonderful place to shop,” says Lawn. It will be “welcoming, Christmassy and inviting.”

To further enhance the festive atmosphere, the Festival of Trees will again be on display. Donated by Pine Meadows Tree Farms, each tree will be decorated by local businesses and organizations and will be on view for the duration of the weekend. One lucky design will receive the honour of people’s choice, as decided through ballots cast by visitors.

The Chilliwack Floral Art Club is back for a third year. Their Christmas- and winter-themed arrangements will line the entrance of the Christmas Craft Market.

They create “absolutely stunning, fresh floral arrangements. They are works of art,” says Lawn.

Princesses from Ever After Princess Party Events will be spreading holiday cheer throughout the land, and Chilliwack Restorative Justice will be running a contest and will be doing the 50/50 draw.

Each year the market brings in about $35,000 for the Chilliwack Community Arts Council. That money goes towards the arts council’s three annual art scholarships, community events, and subsidized art classes for children and adults.

The 42nd annual Chilliwack Christmas Craft Market runs Nov. 18-20 at Heritage Park. Hours are: Friday from  noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Admission is $3 per person. Children 10 and under get in for free.

For more info including a list of vendors, go to chilliwackartscouncil.com/events/chilliwack-christmas-craft-market.

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