In the lead up to Christmas, artisan fairs and markets are an inevitable part of the holiday season. For many, it's a chance to get into the spirit early - for the vendors, it's a chance to sell their wares. However, while the number of Christmas markets in the Lower Mainland are in abundance, the majority are held north of the Fraser.
For Cloverdale's Heather Harasymow, that wasn't good enough and so, four years ago, she founded the Christmas in Cloverdale Gift and Craft Marketplace.
"I had worked events in the past for the scrapbooking business we had and we had gone to a few Christmas ones, but there weren't very many large ones unless you crossed the bridge," said Harasymow.
Having taken up residence at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds, the annual event has grown considerably. Since its debut in 2008, the market has grown well beyond its original form, drawing more than 1,400 people to last year's iteration.
"In fact, vendors are starting to contact me rather than me search them out so that's kind of nice," said Harasymow.
As for what will be on offer for this year's event, Harasymow said people can expect a wide range of Christmas-related crafts and artisan gifts, including baked goods, ornaments and bath products from more than 70 vendors. There will also be plenty of things to keep the kids entertained, including face painting, balloon animals and a magician. A wandering Santa will also be on hand to make sure kids both young and old are kept merry.
"We also wanted to make it more of a family event because Cloverdale has so many families," said Harasymow. "So when mom and dad are busy shopping we have stuff for the kids to do."
One aspect of the event Harasymow is especially proud of is the annual contribution to the Surrey Food Bank. Each year, the market has collected food for the food bank and every time, Harasymow is surprised at how charitable people are.
"It's amazing how many people donate food," she said.
The fourth annual Christmas in Cloverdale Gift and Craft Marketplace takes place on Nov. 30, from 5 to 9 p.m. and again on Dec. 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The market will be located in Shannon Hall at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds at 6050 176th St., Surrey. Admission is free. Visit www. christmasincloverdale.com.