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Wednesday, March 22, 2023
Three’s a Charm: NOTL holiday markets are jolly and bright despite storm
Paintings by student Lucien Blanchard were available at the Willowbank Holiday Market last Saturday. Julia Sacco

Snow, shopping and snacking were the themes last weekend.

Thanks to the Willowbank Holiday Market, the St. Vincent De Paul Treats and Treasures Market and the Ravine Vineyard Holiday Market, eager shoppers could spend the weekend perusing handmade goods and Christmas treats. 

St. Vincent de Paul

Despite the impending snowstorm, the St. Vincent de Paul Treats and Treasures Market brought out a great crowd for the handmade gifts and snacks.

Sabina Knight, president of the Catholic Women’s League, said guests were eager to shop right when the doors opened.

“We had an excellent showing at 9 a.m. this morning. The snow had me scared me all week,” said Knight.

“But God was looking out for us.”

The group is looking forward to its 100-year anniversary coming up next fall and will use funds from the sale to support its charitable efforts.

“We’re hoping to do some good deeds with the money we raise and to celebrate in October,” said Knight. 

“There’s a long history of service to the town and we hope to continue that work.”

The sale began with seven tables of gift baskets and by the time snow began to come down, just one table was left standing. 

According to event chair Irene Pentesco, a committee of five has been working on the sale since June of last year. 

Fellow CWL member Maryann Larrivee expressed gratitude for Pentesco’s leadership and guidance.

“She’s the driving force behind this. If it wasn’t for her, we wouldn’t be doing this today.”

Willowbank Holiday Market 

In the midst of Saturday’s winter storm, Willowbank School of Restoration Arts students and crafters were snuggled up inside for this year’s Holiday Market.

Student events co-ordinator Riley McMahon took a lead role in the planning the market, with the goal of showcasing students’ passions and hobbies.

“They did a Christmas market last year and invited vendors from around the area. So, I thought it would be nice to have students featured,” she said.

McMahon and organizers picked the market date in August. 

“We did miss out on a couple of vendors who got snowed in,” said McMahon.

“There was no moving (the date),” added the director of Willowbank, Caitlin Wooll.

Those students who made it out to the sale had a unique collection of handmade goods on sale, from miso peanut butter cookies to cherrywood earrings. 

Wooll had her quirky anthropomorphic animal prints available for purchase, Riley McMahon and her boyfriend Matthew Wark were selling gorgeous cherrywood coasters and ornaments, Lucien Blanchard had watercolour paintings inspired by various photographs and landscapes for sale, and JoJo Keus handmade stained glass ornaments for the occasion. 

“I really just wanted to do something simple but very cute,” said Keus.

“On Christmas trees, they sparkle and even on windows, they’re great.”

Ravine Vineyard

At Ravine Vineyard Estate Winery, vendors were selling lots of different goods — many of which weren’t actually Christmas-themed.

But jolly old Saint Nick and his wife were there, offering kids a chance to let them know what’s on their Christmas lists.

Kalin Falconer, owner of Bloom & Co. in St. Davids, brought some of her Christmas decorations to sell.

“We had some rushes of people, and then some lulls, but otherwise really good,” she said of the market attendance.

With her store just down the road, she had “the benefit of a slow load-in, because we can just make a couple of trips easily.”

With files from Richard Harley

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