The Stettler Recreation Centre was the place to be on Saturday, Nov. 22, as the Sharebear Playschool hosted its sixth annual Christmas bazaar, drawing a steady stream of shoppers and kids.
In addition to more than 30 vendors, the bazaar featured a raffle table, concession stand, bake sale, and the opportunity to have photos taken with Santa Claus.
“This was, by far, our best, most successful year,” said bazaar chairperson Kelsey McNeill, adding that within the first hour, organizers had already surpassed the total raised at last year’s bazaar.
She reported this week that a total of 362 adults and over 100 children attended the bazaar, bringing in a total of $5,796 before expenses.
Numbers had been down the previous year as the recreation centre had been under renovation, forcing organizers to host their bazaar at another venue.
McNeill said that the bazaar was a success, thanks in part to donations from local businesses and others in the district.
Students from the “Be the Change” group at William E. Hay Composite High School also lent a hand by running the “kiddie corral,” inviting kids free of charge in to decorate cookies, play with Play-Doh and make crafts while their parents shopped.
“People are just so generous,” said McNeill. “It’s really nice to see the community support.”
Vendors present reported an impressive morning rush, as parents came in to get their kids photographed with Santa and to join the line for tickets for the Stettler Princess Ball in February, on sale in an adjacent area of the recreation centre.
“It was incredible,” said Cody Borek, owner of Today’s Sweet Cakery in Castor. “It was the busiest one we’ve been to.”
Standing behind a table lined with sugar cookies and cupcakes, Borek said they sold out of baking in an hour and a half and had to have additional stock brought in.
Christmas is a busy season for his bakery, and they try to be present at the various holiday markets in the district, said Borek.
The bazaar attracted vendors from as far away as Airdrie, home of Megan & Alana’s Crochet Creations.
Operated by sisters Megan and Alana Looke, the business sells homemade items like scarves, hats, booties, ear warmers and boot cuffs.
“The morning was really busy,” said Megan Looke, reporting that scarves had been a popular seller. “We have a lot of people trying things on.”
The sisters are originally from Nova Scotia. Megan initially began crocheting as a hobby and turned it into a business two years ago. As of last weekend they had already attended four Christmas markets.
McNeill said that funds from the bazaar will go directly to the playschool, which currently has about 80 children enrolled.
She added that supporters should stay tuned for news regarding another “exciting” fundraiser, pending license approval.