The first annual Winterfest Craft Fair will fill the Parksville Community and Conference Centre this weekend with 55 artisans, kids activities, live Celtic entertainment and more.
Organizer Bobbie Garnons-Williams, of Island Highlander Co. in Nanoose Bay, created the event due to demand from people in the area as well as from fellow vendors, she said.
"You have your grassroots crafts fairs and then you've got the high end of [the] Kris Kringle [craft market] and there isn't really anything between, so that's where I was kind of aiming for," she said.
The festival features artisans selling high quality, affordable items from clothing, jewelry, art, clay, metal works, gourmet delicacies and more. It runs Nov. 16—18 and this year the theme is Celtic.
There will be Celtic bands coming from around the Island to perform as well as a Haggis Hunt for children. This is where children seek out little "Harry Haggis" creatures in and amongst vendors.
Once they've spotted them and collected their stamps, kids can return their sheets for a goodie bag and a chance to win a little stuffy.
There will be a number of activities for children throughout the weekend including storytelling, puppetry, balloon animals, and a play area.
Entertainers this year include the Trinitrude Celtic Folk Band, Celtic Chaos, Mt. Benson Ceili Band and performers from Cassandra Karras School of Highland Dance.
Each year the theme of the festival will change and Garnons-Williams said she hopes to have local students researching how each country celebrates winter festivals. They will then display their results and educate the public.
This year there will will also be a student art show and a KSS dry grad table.
Smile cards for $50 from Thrifty Foods will be given away every hour as well as Tigh-Na-Mara mineral spa passes.
Admission is $4 for the entire weekend and a portion of that will go to one of three local community groups, the choice is up to the visitor. Entry includes a hot beverage and a treat, and kids 10 and under are free.
The Winterfest Craft Fair runs Friday, Nov. 16 from 12—8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17 from 10—6 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 18 from 10—4 p.m.
For more information visit www.winterfestcraftfair.com.