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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Creative Crafts And Gifts Galore: 25th Annual Craft & Trade Show Draws Record Crowd

The silver anniversary of the Creative Crafts and Gifts Galore Craft & Trade Show was celebrated in style on October 21, with the theme “Christmas in October,” turning Derwent into a winter wonderland for a day. The event, organized by Debbie Nazarchuk, drew its largest attendance to date, with almost 1,000 visitors pouring through the doors of the Derwent Recreation Centre.

In a bid to infuse the spirit of Christmas into this milestone event, vendors were encouraged to create booths that exuded the holiday season. The most festive booth was awarded a free rental for next year’s show, fostering a sense of friendly competition among the 52 participating vendors. Such was the event’s popularity that there was a waiting list of 35 vendors eager to be part of this annual sale.

The excitement around the event was palpable, with eager shoppers lining up well before the 10 a.m. opening time. The Derwent Recreation Centre was transformed into a bustling marketplace, offering a wide array of products, from baked goods and preserves to woodworking, needlework, home-based businesses, giftware, jewelry, clothing, décor, and everything Christmas-related.

Generosity was in the air, with local businesses and organizations contributing generous door prizes. These included Oiler tickets from Highmark Maintenance Services, Jubilation Tickets and a kids’ scooter from the County of Two Hills, a $200 Gift Certificate to Quarter Cuts and seasonings from Vermilion Credit Union, Christmas decorations from Mainstreet Hardware, an outdoor snowman from Vermilion RONA, and a pizza package from Derwent Pizza & Hotel. Stewart Realty also contributed towards event expenses.

The vendors had an exceptional day of sales, with patrons impressed by the variety and number of vendors, many of whom were not previously seen in the area. The community spirit shone as a generous amount of food bank donations were collected and gratefully accepted by the local food bank.

The day became even more memorable when Santa Claus himself made a special appearance, spreading holiday cheer among children and adults. He handed out candy canes, posed for pictures, and wished everyone a “Merry Christmas very soon.”

Debbie Nazarchuk, the event’s founder and sole volunteer organizer for 25 years, reflected on the event’s remarkable growth, saying, “I started the event with only eight vendors at the Derwent Seniors Centre where the vendors each brought a pan of squares in hopes of attracting a small crowd. Now, 25 years later, the rec centre was filled to capacity both upstairs and downstairs with vendors and patrons, who were all so excited to be there. Every year I reach out to unique vendors all over Alberta and even Saskatchewan and invite them to our little hamlet, bringing with them new and exciting products that I know will make the patrons excited to see at the sale. I think that’s why it’s been so successful… I always bring in new and exciting things, so it’s not the same old stuff you see every year. Every year, I LOVE seeing the empty hall transformed into the gorgeous display of crafts and baking and so many wonderful things... I think this is why I keep doing it. That and what it brings to our little hamlet of Derwent. It’s truly incredible that our little town of only about 100 people has something that is attended by almost 1,000 people! It’s crazy, heartwarming, and absolutely amazing. Not sure if I’ll keep doing it for another 25 years... but I’m already thinking ahead for next year!”

The craft sale is sponsored by the Derwent Ag Society, an organization that takes great pride in hosting such an event in their community.

With a record-breaking attendance, a festive atmosphere, and an abundance of holiday cheer, the 25th Annual Creative Crafts and Gifts Galore Craft & Trade Show was a remarkable celebration of artistry, community, and the spirit of giving. As the event organizer Debbie Nazarchuk looks to the future, it’s clear that this tradition will continue to thrive for years to come.


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