Get stocked up on holiday decorations and gifts for everyone on your list by visiting the “explosion” of local creations for sale at this year’s Apsley Holiday Extravaganza.
Held annually on the third Saturday in November, the fundraising event is an afternoon to browse and shop works from dozens of artists and creators based in Apsley and surrounding areas, with food and beverages provided by local caterers. This year, the extravaganza is taking place on Saturday (November 18) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the North Kawartha Community Centre at 340 McFadden Road.
Admission to the extravaganza costs $2 or the donation of one non-perishable food item, with all proceeds going to the North Kawartha Food Bank. Last year’s event raised $740 in cash and several bins of food for the food bank.
For years, the event was a smaller Christmas craft fair hosted by local artists at the Royal Canadian Legion as part of the Apsley Autumn Studio Tour. When fibre artist Rachel Conlin took over as organizer in 2019, she wanted to open the space up to even more crafters.
“I thought I’d take it to the next level with a bigger venue and get more people inside,” says Conlin.
After hosting a successful event relocated the North Kawartha Community Centre in 2019 followed by a years-long hiatus during the pandemic, Conlin brought back the extravaganza in 2022. Now, the event runs twice a year with the artists gathering in the springtime as well.
This year’s holiday extravaganza will be the largest yet, with 35 artists and makers in attendance, hailing from Apsley and surrounding areas from Peterborough to Bancroft.
Vendors are chosen through a juried application process and represent a range of different artworks and products including jewellery, woodwork, soaps, candles, body and self-care products, and home-baked goods.
This year, the event will also feature include East Indian cuisine catered by Peterborough’s Jess’ Kitchen and a bistro-style lunch from Apsley’s The Grape and Wedge, including charcuterie boards, soups, and wraps. Food can be enjoyed at the community centre’s seating area, with take-out options also available.
If an afternoon spent browsing locally made goods while enjoying a delicious meal isn’t enough, also new this year is face painting and bubble braiding from Wilberforce’s Pockets the Clown to entertain the children all afternoon long.
Conlin guesses about 40 per cent of the vendors are new to the extravaganza this year, including Bancroft’s Virginia Sweets Bakery and potter Amy Doole from Maynooth. Returning artists include Apsley glass artist Sue Rankin, Coe Hill wildlife artist Brenda Rudder, and Peterborough’s Laura Dunford of Sweet Flowering Yoga & Natural Body Products.
“We get quite a few great artists who are on the Apsley and Bancroft studio tours, and others who are great but are newer to the community,” notes Conlin.
Conlin herself will be in attendance with wool creations from her own business, Irish Hills Farms, where she hand-dyes wool and spins yarn to create both hanging wall art and wearable art including vests and scarves.
“At the extravaganza, I’ll have some felted wool collars as wearable art, felted pictures, and a lot of sock yarn and other, big chunky yarn that people like to knit with,” she says, adding that she’ll also have some of her luxurious and biodegradable soaps, hand-felted with adorable designs.