Big Valley Craft Show and Sale sparkles in 14th year

When Diane Roch was packing to visit her daughter in Drumheller, she packed up some of the jewelry hanging boards she makes

Diane Roch came to the Big Valley Craft Fair and Sale to show off her post-retirement work. The jewelry plaques are hand-cut by Roch

Diane Roch came to the Big Valley Craft Fair and Sale to show off her post-retirement work. The jewelry plaques are hand-cut by Roch

When Diane Roch was packing to visit her daughter in Drumheller, she packed up some of the jewelry hanging boards she makes as a post-retirement hobby, just in case.

On Saturday, Nov. 15 Roch, who lives in the Yukon, earned the designation of “furthest vendor” when she decided to sell the boards at the annual Big Valley Christmas Craft Show and Sale.

She cuts patterns out of plywood using a saw – a saw that once bit into her finger and gave her an extreme manicure – then stains and veneers the wood. Using foam covered in pretty fabric, framed in spruce, she makes the perfect place for hooking in earrings. Hooks on the rest of the board can be used to hang jewelry like bracelets and necklaces.

The boards, while designed for jewelry, could easily be multi-purpose, used as a near-the-door memo board and key hanger, as an example.

Andrea Webster, who is one of the fair organizers, has been involved with the fair for about 15 years. When she became involved, it was a natural progression from her years as a child, where she went to fairs with her mother.

“It was just getting started when I got involved,” she said.

This year there were 35 tables set up for 32 vendors, packing the Big Valley hall with sellers and buyers.

“Some people come every year,” Webster said. She and her sister-in-law, Tammy Webster, have been there through sleet and snow

Or blizzards, like last year. The blustery snowstorm blew in just in time for the annual fair, limiting the number of people who came to sell and buy.

“We have our diehards, though,” she said.

This year’s weather was perfect, though, as the fair took place in a cold but clear blue-sky day. It kept the numbers high, Webster said.

This year saw the fair expand slightly, as the newly renovated hall annex was available for use. The photographer was back, too, after a few years’ absence.

Food was served out of the kitchen, providing hungry sellers and buyers with homemade chili, the perfect way to shrug off the November chill.

Alfred Hagle from Innisfail and Arlyne Hingst of Drumheller make up Butterflies by Alfred and Arlyne. Together, they make butterflies out of old magazines, and with an addition of some glitter, paint and ribbons, make beautiful butterflies of various sizes, perfect for Christmas or summer decorating, out of what would otherwise be thrown away.

The two had a table spread with the colourful, fluttery insects, as well as a small tree displaying even more.

Situated as it is between Stettler and Drumheller, the fair attracts crafters from both hubs, as well as some from as far away as Calgary and Coronation.