Pam Vest

Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers Christmas Extravaganza in Parksville this weekend

The annual event runs Friday Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day

The Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers are gearing up for their biggest fundraiser of the year — the ninth annual Christmas Extravaganza.

The annual event runs Friday Nov. 25 and Saturday, Nov. 26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day at the Quality Resort Bayside (240 Dogwood St., Parksville).

Organizers Pam Vest and Ann Tardiff said they have sales upwards of $20,000 for the annual holiday sale. They also said about 700 people come through to check it out during the two days.

Tardiff, who hosted the first event out of her home in 2007, said she enjoys Christmas baking and she paints as well.

“I thought I’ll just have an open house and invite my friends and they can come and have tea and goodies and they can all take home something and leave a donation for the Grandmothers to Grandmothers,” Tardiff said.

That first year, Tardiff said, she made $1,000.

“They all came and they all went home with something, so they felt like they were contributing,” Tardiff said.

Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers is one of 240 groups across Canada that contributes through the Stephen Lewis Foundation to community-based organizations helping to counter the impact of HIV/AIDS is 15 sub-Saharan African countries.

Tardiff said everybody can sympathize with the grandmothers in Africa who are suffering compared to us.

“We get our grandkids over for the weekend and our fridge is full of food and we have all kinds of games and things to entertain them… We have all of these opportunities to keep them busy and we’re exhausted by the time they leave,” Tardiff said.

“Imagine how exhausting it must be for those grandmothers who have absolutely nothing.”

The women in the Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers get together about six times a year, and from there, members of the group co-ordinate other groups to prepare baking, crafts and other handmade items for the Christmas Extravaganza.

Tardiff said one person will get an idea and put the message out for people to meet up and work on the crafts.

“You have to get together in smaller groups because you can’t possibly work if you’ve got 40 people all trying to do the same thing, it’s just too overwhelming,” Tardiff said.

At the Christmas Extravaganza, Vest said their baking and preserves are the most popular. She said this year there will be six round tables topped with baking.

“Last year we sold out,” Vest said. “We expect to do the same this time.”

Along with the baking and preserves are winter succulents and other handmade gifts, Vest said.

“We have crafts as well. We have everything from knitted mice to quilted things to bags and totes and angels and hostess gifts,” Vest said.

The African angels are each named for an African victim of AIDS.

Vest said people give them scraps of fabric, and from there they reuse the pieces to create other handmade items.

Since the beginning of Oceanside Grandmothers to Grandmothers, they have raised about $400,000. To find out more about the group, visit www.oceansideg2g.org.

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