By Guest Blogger NANCY SHIELDS
I wasn’t quite feeling in the Christmas spirit. That is until I went to the 2016 Kris Kringle Craft Market in Nanaimo where crowds of people were starting their holiday shopping in a festive, decked out atmosphere.
More than 150 vendors from Vancouver Island attracted a crowd of more than 1,000 shoppers, clearly ready to check off their Christmas wishlists.
I was lucky enough to be one of those shoppers and had a wonderful time exploring the rows of Vancouver Island artisans and crafters at the Beban Park Social Centre. As I walked into the building there was a gorgeous glow from holiday decorations and lights — the first thing to put me the mood of the season.
It was apparent why the Kris Kringle Craft Market is also known as “Nanaimo’s most beautifully decorated Christmas show.” The entire centre was filled to the brim with holiday cheer, creatively adorned Christmas trees, and “snow.”
With the $10 admission, guests were treated to a $10 gift certificate to Natural U Spa with their daily pass to the market. Adding to the excitement was the chance for me and everyone else to have a shot at winning hourly door prizes, with the grand prize of a flight for two to anywhere WesJet flies.
The show was a chance for me to also discover some artisans and crafters I didn’t know about, including Flavors of the Med, Seraphina Soapworks, Ivan’s Truffles and my personal favourite, Beaver House Fudge. (I treated myself to one of their incredible peanut butter fudge squares.)
Then out of the corner of my eye, an unexpected guest appeared — the Grinch (or known at the craft fair as “Gringle”). Knowing his reputation for stealing Christmas cheer, I held my soap and fudge tightly but luckily for shoppers, Kris and Karole Kringle arrived and saved the day.
As I made my way to the front of the centre to see who’d won the next door prize, I found the lively kids’ zone, known as Kris Kringle’s Kastle. Inside, children were making gingerbread houses, getting their faces painted and their photos taken with Kris Kringle, and meeting Krystal Princess and Princess Kringle.
When it came time to leave, I departed through another door and strolled by a beautiful row of Christmas lights, filled out a bonus ballot for purchasing products from crafters’ at the market, with the aroma of fresh mini donuts coming from around the corner.
While grabbing my evening snack at the donut truck, I was greeted by a guitar-playing man on stilts. He serenaded me with Jingle Bells and I was on my merry way.
I was feeling so festive by the time I got home, I put up my Christmas tree and wrapped my recently purchased gifts. Until next year, Kringle-on!