A successful return for Christmas Arts & Craft Fair
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
A time-honoured Christmas tradition in Sioux Lookout, the Christmas Arts & Craft Fair, was back to in-person shopping this past Saturday, Dec 4. After being forced to move to an online format last year due to the pandemic, the fair, organized by the Friends of Cedar Bay, was able to return to the Recreation Centre gymnasium this year, although in a slightly modified format to meet ongoing COVID restrictions. With limits on the number of vendors and the number of patrons allowed into the venue at any one time, the scope of the event may have been reduced but the response to being back to in-person this year was positive.
Several vendors commented on brisk sales and expressed satisfaction at being able to interact with patrons in-person after the event ran as an online marketplace last year. Patrons appeared to agree, and the event saw a steady flow of shoppers through until 4 p.m. when the event wrapped up.
Sharon Wilson has regularly been a vendor at the Christmas Arts & Craft Fair before it went to online sales last year. She was happy to be back to in-person shopping, stating, “It went very well. I pretty much sold out of preserves. I still have some Christmas baskets and gift bags, so it went very well. It was lovely to see the customers.
As Friends of Cedar Bay representative Joyce Timpson explained, it wasn’t just the vendors and patrons who were happy to be back, stating, “Friends of Cedar Bay is pleased to have offered the fair to the community even though it was pared down due to gym capacity limitations of 100 persons. We capped vendor numbers to 22 compared to the usual 36 - 40 allowing for a maximum number of patrons at any one time.”
Timpson continued, “We confirmed 474 persons came through but more than 500 if counting little ones in arms or strollers, about half of the number at our last in-person fair in 2019. Although the fair is one of our main fundraisers, we decided to hold a pandemic adapted in-person event more as a service to the community, which has supported Cedar Bay. Our revenue was expected to be less this year due to the need to reduce the number of vendors, a lowering of registration fees, and fewer patrons. But we were happy to do it for the community.”
In closing, Timpson added, “Vendors were happy to be back again in person. They enjoyed the extra space and some expressed appreciation for the pandemic precautions that were taken. Municipal staff must be commended for their vigilance to precautions and their support while guiding Friends of Cedar Bay volunteers through the procedures. The public was exceptionally patient and understanding. Our volunteers are very grateful for all the support and cooperation.”
If you missed the Christmas Craft Fair this year, there might still be time to grab some last-minute gifts. Timpson encourages the community to visit the event’s Facebook page, Sioux Lookout Christmas Arts & Craft Fair (https://bit.ly/3rzofcR), which will stay up until Christmas. Vendors from the fair will able to post their work there in the next few days.