by Lindsay Ducharme
Still searching for the perfect, one-of-a-kind gift for your Valentine? The Fort Mac Hand Crafted Market is set to make its return to the region on February 7th at Westwood High School.
“We have a really different feel than other markets,” said Joanna Torguson, president and managing director of Fort Mac Hand Crafted Markets.
“We kind of wanted to highlight homemade goods more than it usually is at markets. We are pretty strict about who we accept in our markets, you have to either make it, bake it or create it.”
“We have a couple of importers that we have accepted but we have gone through very carefully how they are importing their things, they actually go and meet with the people in the foreign countries and bring in small things. One woman actually imports from her home village in the Middle East. It’s incredible,” she added
Fort Mac Hand Crafted Markets emerged on the scene last April, much to the delight of residents searching for original, one of a kind products. The markets took a brief break during the holidays and Torguson said vendors and customers alike are eagerly anticipating the revival in February.
“We have 18 vendors signed up to sell, including yarn goods, a steam pump jeweler, two pet products, pottery, fine art, sewing, beach glass jewelry, greeting cards, which will be a big thing with Valentine’s Day, aprons, tutus, we always have a photographer doing little mini sessions, and we will have a face painter coming this time as well.”
“We are totally unique, there is nothing like us in Fort McMurray. We can have five jewelers at a market because not one of them is going to make the same thing, in fact I can’t make the same apron twice. Because it’s [hand] made there’s always going to be a nuance that’s different. There’s a lot of choice for people who come and shop at the market. It’s a bit of an adventure, you never know what each vendor s going to bring,” she promised.
The Hand Crafted Markets support more than local shopaholics, the markets have made it a mission to give back to the community – namely the high schools that graciously host their events.
“Basically whatever group decides that they want to access the funds from us organizing a market at their school they set up the tables, they help our vendors load in, they set up a little concession stand and at the end of the market they get a cheque for the table fees,” Torguson said.
“They have the space and the infrastructure, but they also have a need for the money especially the high school with sports trips, with fine art all these different things that come up that aren’t funded through the school board. Overseas trips are incredibly expensive so anything we can do to help make it less stressful for the parents we try to do. Parents really want their kids to participate but even with Fort McMurray incomes it can be a little much.”
Once again the markets will be supporting Project Kenya and a local improv team’s goal to attend The Fringe in Scotland in 2016.
For more information on Fort Mac Hand Crafted Markets, including vendor information, visit the website http://fortmachandcrafted.com, like them on Facebook (Fort Mac Hand Crafted Market) or follow them on Twitter (@FMHCMarket).