Fair brings global handcrafts to the Okanagan

The Global Villages Fair is celebrating a decade of bringing unique fair trade handcrafted items to Penticton.

Global Villages organizers Tyrion Miskell and Sandy Andres show off the lucky draw basket to be awarded at the two day fair this weekend that features unique fair trade handcrafted items.

Global Villages organizers Tyrion Miskell and Sandy Andres show off the lucky draw basket to be awarded at the two day fair this weekend that features unique fair trade handcrafted items.

The Global Villages Fair is celebrating a decade of bringing unique fair trade handcrafted items to Penticton.

“By holding this sale, we’re giving customers in the Okanagan a chance to shop Ten Thousand Villages again and buy unique products while helping people in developing countries meet basic needs for themselves and their families,” said Sandy Andres, sale organizer.

The event, held at the Penticton United Church at 696 Main St. this weekend, lets the public shop Ten Thousand Villages, learn more about skilled artisans in Africa, Asia and Latin America and invest in their world by shopping fair trade.

The sale will showcase a assortment of food, coffee, tea, jewelry, scarves, knitted products, Christmas ornaments, olive wood from Palestine, kitchen wares and much more.

Rita Taenzer, one of the fair organizers, said there will be lots of handmade, one-of-a-kind items that come from a long distance to Penticton.

“This has been a great event and supported by people who realize they don’t want to shop for items that are made in sweatshops. There has been a growing enthusiasm for fair-trade items,” said Taenzer. “There is so much horrible news about the sweatshops in Bangledesh for example and people working for $30 a month. At the fair people can spend their dollars knowing they are supporting artisans to help them better their living conditions and making a difference in their lives.”

The Granny Café is also back this year, serving lunch while the crowds browse. Grandmothers for Africa, who raise funds for the Stephen Lewis Foundation, will run the café.

Ten Thousand Villages, which closed its doors in Penticton in April, will have a big presence this year but the event will also feature other fair trade products.

“We are working in partnership with them. Ten Thousand Villages had success in Penticton with quite the following and the closure had nothing to do with the town. It was more of head office having difficulties distributing products here. There is now just stores in Vancouver and Victoria, so those that were loyal customers in Penticton will get a chance to purchase products from them this weekend,” said Taenzer.

Proceeds of the sale support artisans partnered with Ten Thousand Villages, the oldest and largest Fair Trade Organization in North America.

Organizers of the Global Villages Fair said they owe their success to dedicated local volunteers.

The event runs from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 1 and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Nov. 2. There is no entry charge.

About 10 per cent of the money raised stays with the organizing committee to pay for expenses.

Taenzer said any leftover money is distributed to local charitable organizations.