There’s something about Christmas that kindles thoughts of homegrown festivities and local crafts.
Fortunately for residents of communities along 118 Avenue, a group of friends have followed through, and the neighbourhood can look forward to a truly local Christmas market this November.
The friends, members of the 118 Ladies’ Night Out Facebook group, were on a retreat in August. They were considering restarting the Alberta Avenue farmers market.
“We were talking about things we could do to bring more events to the community. And we thought, we should have a kind of farmers market. I know they used to have one a few years ago,” explained Virginia Potkins, the event organizer, community resident, and group member.
“There’s been so much change in this neighbourhood in the last decade or so. We thought, let’s give it a try. Start up a small Christmas market and see what the response is.”
Thursday farmers markets were a feature of Alberta Avenue Community Centre until about seven years ago. As for Christmas-based venues, they’ve included Just One World: An Ethical Global Marketplace and the potters’ show and sale, as well as the arts bazaar at The Carrot Coffeehouse. But the women wanted to offer a venue that solely showcases locally-made handicrafts.
“It’s open to any local artisans who can either make it, bake it, or create it,” emphasized Potkins. “There won’t be any vendors selling [commercial] products. It will all be handmade here in Edmonton.”
Specifically, vendors for the Christmas market are being invited from within Alberta Avenue, but Potkins hopes to open it up to neighbouring communities.
“Artisans of Alberta Avenue will have the first choice. We’ll then open it up to the wider community,” she said.
So far there’s been strong interest from jewelers, a maker of home décor signs, and a catering company, among others.
“We’ll also have art, paintings. And a dress maker is interested,” said Potkins.
She’s been contacting buskers to provide entertainment, and plans on inviting a special guest with a red suit. Visitors will be able to buy snacks at a concession put on by the Alberta Avenue Community League, with funds from that and the coat check going to community league programming.
Admission is free, but Potkins said they encourage people to bring a food item for Edmonton’s Food Bank as an entry donation.
She’s been living in Alberta Avenue for a year and a half, having lived in Edmonton for 32 years in several communities. She said the sense of community and artistic vitality in her new neighbourhood has been a big incentive behind the Christmas market.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what shows up. There is so much talent out there,” she said, noting the Alberta Avenue Christmas Market will cater to everyone of every age.
“We’ll have a little something for everybody.”
Interested vendors from Alberta Avenue and surrounding communities should get in touch with organizers by Nov. 9.
ALBERTA AVENUE CHRISTMAS MARKET
Nov 24, 1-4 pm
Alberta Ave Community Centre, 9210 118 Ave
Free admission, but donation of food bank item is encouraged.
Interested vendors are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 780.668.1200. The cost of a booth space is $25.
Featured Image: Dianna Riggs, a Delton resident, displays some of her engraving work that she will be selling at the Alberta Avenue Christmas Market. | Kate Wilson