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Christmas craft fair making big comeback

Westisle Composite High School principal Heidi Morgan, center, reviews plans for the Nov 3 and 4 Westisle Christmas Market with coordinators Valene Gallant, left, and Brittanie Cooke. Close to 100 vendors are already confirmed for the craft fair, the first one at the West Prince high school in 15 years.
Westisle Composite High School principal Heidi Morgan, center, reviews plans for the Nov 3 and 4 Westisle Christmas Market with coordinators Valene Gallant, left, and Brittanie Cooke. Close to 100 vendors are already confirmed for the craft fair, the first one at the West Prince high school in 15 years. - Eric McCarthy

Westisle Christmas Market Nov 3, 4

ELMSDALE

Tables won’t be an issue for vendors looking to participate in the November 3 and 4 Westisle Christmas Market, but space could soon become a challenge.

Christmas Market coordinator, Valene Gallant said local businesses are donating tables for the event and some vendors have offered to supply their own tables.

Gallant already has 95 vendors confirmed for the two-day event and she will reassess how much space is still available once the number of vendors hits an even 100. She’s thrilled with the response the Christmas Market is generating among vendors, some of whom had attended regularly until an annual Christmas Craft Fair at the West Prince high school was discontinued 15 years ago.

“I love planning,” said Gallant, describing how she jumped at the very mention of having the fair re-introduced.

“It would be nice to see it back up and running,” she recalls someone saying to her several months ago.

“That’s all it took for me to run with it,” she said. Friend, Brittanie Cooke and graduating Westisle student Claudia Sweet are assisting her with the coordination.

Gallant first discussed the idea of starting up the fair again, albeit under a new name, with Westisle principal Heidi Morgan.

It’s a great, central venue, the principal acknowledges.

Morgan, who said the fair was always a good source of funds for the high school, indicated proceeds from this year’s Westisle Christmas Market will assist with major improvements to the school library which has roles as a learning center, a quiet reading place and somewhere for students to gather during lunch hour. Couches, fireplace, popular reading material, tables with docking stations and other furniture are part of staff and students’ vision for the space. A librarian who staffs the space throughout the school day provides support. Morgan described the space as an extension of the classroom and a social hub.

“It’s a different look than what you would be used to,” she explained the shared vision. “It’s not your traditional library.”

Gallant suggest vendor response and the 1,900 people who have joined the Westisle Christmas Market facebook page are indications of how much the annual fair has been missed. She said she recalls attending the event as a child.

“It was a really big thing; you’d look forward to it,” Cooke recalls from years past.

The Christmas Market is also an opportunity for Westisle students to build up their volunteer hours. They will be working the door and helping out during market hours. The high school will get the proceeds of table rentals and the $2.00 per person admission price.

The Christmas Market will operate from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 3 and noon to 5 p.m. on Nov. 4.

Vendors can register at westislechristmasmarket@gmail.com and they can get particulars on the facebook group, Westisle Christmas Market.

”I just keep hearing that the buzz is great,” Gallant shares.

“People are pumped, staff are excited,” adds Morgan.

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