Crack open the Kringle

Big, annual craft market runs through this weekend

Min and Gene Gaudreau have organizer Veronica van Conruhds

Min and Gene Gaudreau have organizer Veronica van Conruhds

If you are looking for some holiday inspiration, check out the Parksville Conference and Community Centre which has been transformed into Kris Kringle land.

With costumed characters, carriage rides, a children’s station and plenty of prize opportunities the Kris Kringle Craft Market is open for business and has more than 150 quality crafters displaying wares.

The annual extravaganza runs until Sunday, Nov. 27 and there will be something to please even the most finicky of shoppers with everything from intricate jewelry, hand crafted pottery, bath products, one-of-kind clothes and of course, toys.

Among the 150 high quality B.C. artisans filling the centre are Gene and Min Gaudreau. The couple from Qualicum Bay have been selling their tasty spreads and sauces at the Kringle Market almost since it started and as the craft fair grows, so does their business.

The shelves displaying their jars of bright red crab apple jelly were packed when the doors opened to the market on Thursday, Nov. 24, but come Sunday it’s likely most of the gourmet food items for sale at That Extra Touch will be snapped up by shoppers looking for unique locally produced products.

Min said they collect crab apples from trees throughout the Oceanside area that would otherwise just rot on the ground.  She said in December and January they return to the trees and prune them professionally so the trees will keep producing in years to come.

“We save crab apple trees that are old and cracking. We find new trees every year. It is a way of using apples that would just rot on the ground,” she said.

Min said most of the trees they pick are in North Qualicum and Bowser but they are always happy to find new trees to pick.

She admitted most people are happy to have their trees picked to keep the bears and the deer away.  She added Gene does a great job pruning and keeping the old trees healthy.

This year the Gaudreau’s have a brand new licensed and health inspected kitchen to make a wide variety of products.

Some of the savory sauces they create in the kitchen include pineapple mango curry sauce, crab apple jelly both mild and hot, and new this year, a rib tickling crab apple chipotle BBQ sauce.

Min said if you have a sweet tooth, but like your chocolate with a bit of a kick, you should taste her sassy taffy which has chipotle peppers to warm you from your head to your toes.

Look for That Extra Touch booth near the left side of the stage in the main auditorium.

The family friendly market features the Kringle Family, Kringle entertainers, a face painting station, gingerbread cookie decorating station and free carriage rides through Parksville.

There are over $5,000 in door prizes to be won including a three night stay at the Quality Bayside Resort and $1,000 Kringle shopping spree. Admission is $6 daily of $8 for all four days.  For more information visit the website




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