ST JAMES CHRISTMAS FAIR - FUN, SUN AND STOCKING FILLERS
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.