Residents can continue to shop locally for Christmas gifts this month as the second annual Winterfest & Craft Fair prepares to fill the Parksville Community and Conference Centre.
“People have been grumbling that (a different craft market) is gone and now we don’t have anything, but it’s like no, there is something,” said Bobbie Garnons-Williams of Island Highlander Co. in Nanoose Bay.
Garnons-Williams created the event last year and had 55 artisans, kids activities, live Celtic entertainment and more. This year there will be 70 high-quality crafters selling affordable items from November 22 through to the 24, along with a number of professional bands. Plus there will be a Ceilidh celebration with popular local group Celtic Chaos on November 24.
This traditional Gaelic social gathering involves Scottish music and storytelling, and people get to dance in groups to traditional steps. The basic steps can be learned easily and there will be a caller so no prior experience is necessary to join in on the fun.
Garnons-Williams lived in Scotland for nearly five years, which is where she met her husband, and she attended many Ceilidhs there. She said she’s always wanted to organize one here and is sure it will be a hit.
“I think it’s going to be successful because three out of four people, when I say there’s going to be a Ceilidh they look at me perplexed because they don’t know what one is. But once they hear (what it is) they sound very excited about it,” she said.
The Ceilidh is for all ages and runs from 6:30 to 9 p.m. on Sunday November 24. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors, and a family pass is $40.
At the Winterfest & Craft Fair there will be a wide variety of wooden item this year, including children’s toys, furniture and board games. There will also be clothing, jewelry, baking, photography, body care products, food, seasonings and spices, and pottery, among other treasures.
There will be live music including Cookeilidh from Victoria, the Mount Benson Ceili Band, Celtic Reflections, Trinitude Celtic Folk Band, Brad Prevedoros, Peter Mason and the Ton of Fun Band and more. Kids will enjoy the Children’s Haggis Hunt where they search for little Hairy Haggis’ and receive a goody bag and a chance to win their own Wild Hairy Haggis.
There will also be face painting and students will perform some highland dancing at the event along with a student art showcase by students from Ballenas Secondary and Pass Woodwinds.
Admission for the whole weekend is $4 and a $1 of that will be donated to one of local community groups listed on the event website.
Thrifty Foods will be giving away $50 Smile cards every hour throughout the weekend and there will be door prizes from the vendors given out every hour.
The Winterfest & Craft Fair runs Friday, November 22 from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 to 4 p.m.
For more information on the event visit the website www.winterfestcraftfair.com.