The appeal of hand-made things strong at Chestermere Christmas Market

Nov. four, marked the day of the 24th Annual Chestermere Christmas Market, where vendors of all trades gathered to sell their home-made goods, hand-made crafts and treasures.

Running since 1993 and taken over by Crazy4Crafts in 2010, the event has welcomed jacks-of-all-trades, bringing in spectacular and unique products where each vendor has an interesting tale.

Admission was free with a donation to the food bank, and visitors could enter for door prizes to have their names drawn for Crazybucks, and tickets could be used as cash for purchase within the market.

With so much going on within the craft fair, visitors can always find something to catch their eye.

“You never know what’s going to come to the market,” said Melanie Todd, a regular visitor to the craft sale.

“Each year you can always count on seeing a new face and checking out what unique quality they’re going to bring to the Christmas market.”

This is an event where artisans, entrepreneurs and craftspeople can show off their skills and handiwork, proving a network for both visitors and vendors.

“The market is a great way to connect, meet and talk with people and get the brand out there,” said Caroline Lem, pastry chef and owner of Lemonberry, an organic bakery.

Christy Kovacs, an artist and entrepreneur of Rock Paper Brushes, is a vendor at the Christmas market for the second time.

“Markets are a great place to expand your creative mind and social circle,” said Kovacs. “It’s busy and friendly and everyone’s kind.”

Kovacs also offers other services like paint classes and parties for children.

She says without the network of craft markets, she never would’ve gotten her business started.

Not only does the craft market have young entrepreneurs working solo to get their brand out, there are families who have started businesses together.

Married couple Amy and Justin Desjardins have combined their businesses, Wild Rose Crafts and Prohibition Style.

“I am the Wild Rose Crafts. I sell bath and body products. My husband, Justin, is Prohibition Style. He sells men’s grooming products,” said Amy Desjardins.

“Together we’re a union and a collaboration of two separate businesses.”

For other families, markets carry on traditions such as woodcarving through generations.

The Wooden Touch is a father-son business run by Al Kirwan and his son, Dennis.

They carefully hand carve beautiful wooden toys, clocks, picture frames and other unique objects.

“I’ve been woodcarving since I was a little thing and I started carving toys 20 years ago when my first grandchild was born,” said Al Kirwan.

“Five years later, we started using a non-toxic water-based finish so all kids could play with them.”

The most rewarding thing the Kirwans find about selling their creations is when a child enjoys an old-fashioned wooden toy.

“You don’t see a lot of folks appreciating carved wood objects, but at the market, everyone shows they love the work of hand-made things,” said Dennis Kirwan.

“We’ve been at these Christmas markets all over Calgary for 10 years and most, if not all, vendors make everything by hand. It’s truly admirable.”


The Wooden Touch specializes in making wooden toys for children, using a non-toxic water-based finish to make it safe for all to play with.
(Photo by May Nguyen/The Press)
About May Nguyen 3 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, May Nguyen worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.