ST JA­MES CHRIS­T­MAS FAIR - FUN, SUN AND STOCKING FILLERS

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

i­ma­gi­na­ti­on. By a­bout 10am, the grounds we­re thron­ged with pe­op­le, brow­sing the se­lecti­on of pro­ducts a­vai­la­ble and en­joying the tas­ty food.

The tea garden, man­ned by Val Loock and her te­am from Par­so­na­ge Street Ho­me, did a ro­a­ring tra­de, sel­ling e­ven mo­re tea and sco­nes than last y­e­ar. The bre­ak­fast rolls, in aid of the lo­cal can­cer as­so­ci­a­ti­on, in­vol­ved hun­gry cu­s­to­mers pi­ling rolls with chee­se, to­ma­to, ba­con and egg.

The­se we­re a de­fi­ni­te win­ner, with the on­ly pro­blem being how to eat them with any pre­ten­se of e­le­gan­ce! The VLV la­dies flip­ped pan­ca­kes fran­ti­cal­ly, trying to keep up with a ste­a­dy de­mand. La­ter on, the ham­bur­ger stall man­ned by the Met­ho­dist Church was al­so in full swing.

Co­lour­ful sun um­brel­las and ga­ze­bos fil­led the la­wns, but ca­re­ful plan­ning by the or­ga­ni­sers al­lo­wed for e­a­sy mo­vement be­t­ween the stalls. Goods ran­ged from so­me rat­her obscu­re w­hi­te e­lep­hants to beau­ti­ful­ly cro­che­ted hip­pos, with a vast se­lecti­on in be­t­ween, most at very af­for­da­ble pri­ces.

The­re was gre­at in­te­rest in the new stalls, and the ma­jo­ri­ty of the “old’ stal­l­hol­ders re­por­ted in­cre­a­sed sa­les o­ver pre­vi­ous y­e­ars. Mo­ney was ob­vi­ous­ly tig­ht for ma­ny of the vi­si­tors, but all re­ports to the or­ga­ni­sers in­di­ca­ted that the stal­l­hol­ders we­re very hap­py with the re­sults of the day. Se­ver­al ha­ve al­so in­di­ca­ted that they ha­ve re­cei­ved fol­low-up or­ders af­ter the e­vent, as a re­sult of the ex­po­su­re at the fair.

A wi­de va­ri­e­ty of han­di­crafts was seen, from both pri­va­te ent­hu­si­as­ts and de­ve­lop­ment i­ni­ti­a­ti­ves. The Ir­ha­fu la­dies had a ta­ble of beau­ti­ful­ly knit­ted goods. The Pro­fit with Pur­po­se group, dres­sed in co­lour­ful shweshwe out­fits which they had se­wn them­sel­ves, gar­ne­red a lot of in­te­rest. Bound­less (for­mer­ly the ACVV Pro­tecti­ve Work­pla­ce) had a won­der­ful se­lecti­on of gif­ts and crafts.

The o­ri­gi­nal i­dea for an e­vent at the end of No­vem­ber was the brai­n­child of Ge­rald and Liz Buis­man, and it was run to pro­vi­de a sho­w­ca­se for top qua­li­ty han­di­crafts, as a fa­ci­li­ty for the com­mu­ni­ty rat­her than a fun­drai­ser for the church. O­ver the y­e­ars it has gra­du­al­ly chan­ged fo­cus s­lig­ht­ly to in­clu­de se­cond-hand goods and ot­her re­tail i­tems which are not ne­ces­sa­ri­ly hand­ma­de, alt­hough the vast ma­jo­ri­ty of the i­tems sold are still lo­vingly (and of­ten pain­sta­kingly) han­d­craf­ted.

Chris­t­mas mar­kets are in­cre­a­singly po­pu­lar wor­ld­wi­de, and the i­dea of being a­ble to pur­cha­se a se­lecti­on of Chris­t­mas gif­ts in one pla­ce led to the e­vent’s re­birth a few y­e­ars ago as a Chris­t­mas Fair. Fe­li­ci­ty and E­vet­te ha­ve be­co­me old hands at the or­ga­ni­sa­ti­on and the s­mooth run­ning of the day was e­vi­den­ce of their ex­pe­rien­ce and de­di­ca­ti­on be­hind the sce­nes.

One thing that has not chan­ged is the con­cept of gi­ving back to the com­mu­ni­ty by of­fe­ring a ve­nue for lo­cal sel­lers. The in­co­me that was ge­ne­ra­ted from the stal­l­hol­ders for book­ings and hi­ring ta­bles will all be do­na­ted to lo­cal cha­ri­ties.

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