SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - On a crisp and drizzly Saturday morning, a steady stream of visitors came to soak in the festive atmosphere, amid a labyrinth of stalls that were festooned with carefully handcrafted items, at the 33rd annual Three Oaks Christmas Craft Fair.
The weekend-long celebration gathered 162 vendors from near and far.
Among the eye-catching booths that snaked through the school, located at 10 Kenmore Avenue, were Larry and Shirley Parry from Freetown in P.E.I. The husband and wife duo handcraft socks from the finest yarn on a ‘Legare Circular Sock Machine’ that was manufactured in 1896.
“The machine is from Quebec City, and 15,000 machines were handed out during the First World War to the women of Canada, along with 10 pounds of wool. If they used up the wool they were allowed to keep the machine,” explained Larry, co-owner of Shirley-Anne’s Sox.
He continued, “More soldiers died during the First World War of trench foot than they did of gunshot wounds, but when the women made socks it started to equal out the flow.” Larry motioned, “My wife and I have two fully restored machines, and we made all the socks you can see today.”
The husband and wife duo make leg warmers, boot, sport, and regular socks by harvesting sheep and alpaca wool.
“The alpaca is raised, sheared, and spun on P.E.I., but the wool is imported from the United Kingdom,” acknowledged Larry.
The flurry of joyful shoppers continued at Barb Locke’s whimsical booth, which had an array of hand-crafted and painstakingly hand-painted festive ornaments, reusable ugly Christmas sweaters, and wrapped one-of-a-kind gifts.
“I make snowmen out of old wine bottles and use Keurig cups for their heads. I walk on the beach and gather driftwood to make villages. The skates are old-fashioned that nobody wanted, so I spray painted them and turned them into festive ornaments….” said the Kensington resident, while listing off her recycled items.
“I like to keep as much as I can out of the landfills to protect the environment,” said Barb Locke.
There were no mass-produced crafts, art, or culinary creations at this fair – only real quality to be found.
Sherri Legere traveled from Chester, N.S. to mingle with the artisans and tempt those looking to beat the rush and knock off their Christmas shopping early with her Prim Collectables.
“I self-taught myself over two years ago to make these primitive collectibles. I like to repurpose items such as fabric, nails, sticks, rusty bells, whatever is available and breathe new life into them,” chimed Legere, while noting this was her first time selling at the craft fair.
Three Oaks Christmas Craft Fair runs Saturday, 9 a.m. until 8 p.m., and Sunday from 12-noon to 6 p.m. Admission is $3.
Proceeds from this fundraiser go towards a variety of organizations within the school, which include student council activities, athletics, and the band program.
For a complete list of vendors visit, www.toshcraftfair.com.