The Make It! Okanagan Christmas Craft Faire and Sustainable Living Show is returning to Penticton, for shoppers to find meaningful gifts that support creative small businesses and counteract holiday wastefulness.
“Make It! provides consumers in the South Okanagan with an opportunity to shop for completely unique and amazing Christmas gifts,” said event co-ordinator Laurel Burnham. “People love hand-made products that are unique, wonderful and a real expression of somebody’s creativity and hard work.”
More than 150 vendors were quick to fill the roster for this year’s Make It!, which happens at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre on Nov. 7 and 8.
The merchants have a vast offering of products, all of which are handmade goods, and Burham said the practice of upcycling has become a growing trend.
“If you have a really nice sweater, after you wash it and dry it a few times it gets all shrunken up,” she said. “One person has taken those shrunken sweaters and turned them into beautiful children’s clothing.”
Burnham was also impressed by a jewelery maker who gathers her material from unconventional sources.
“Using O-rings, something normally used with car parts, and she made very simple but very attractive looking necklaces out of it,” she said. “She’s also taken really nice stainless steel nuts and made bracelets out of it. It may sound weird, but in artistic hands you can get a really neat product.”
This year’s Make It! Okanagan visitors will have an opportunity to learn upcycling for themselves with “make and take” workshop running both days.
“We want to inspire folks by showing them how to make their own original home decor items and jewelery from existing materials.
“Another big trend we’re going to be displaying for the first time this year is the tiny house movement,” she said. “There’s a movement going on of people building structures to live in that are less than 400 square feet.”
The building company, Woody’s Lumber and Cottage Cabins Furniture To Go, will be towing a ‘tiny house’ from Salmon Arm to offer tours and demonstrations.
“With sky rocketing building costs, and conventional real estate out of reach for many younger people, an interest in very small homes is rapidly growing in popularity. Even with extremely limited space, attractive, comfortable and liveable homes are popping up everywhere.”
Another structure mobilizing for the event will be a seasonally-themed photo booth by Valley First Cherry Lane Branch, which visitors are invited to use by donating to the Feed the Valley campaign.
“We were looking to do something fun that would support Feed the Valley,” said branch manager Kim DeSimone, after thanking Urban Dollar for providing them a discount on props. “Not only are people positive about this event, they’re excited about it because it’s something they all can participate in.”
“We are excited to have Valley First joining us this year,” Burhnam said. “You’ll be able to get your picture taken on site.”
Local author David Korinetz will be using Make It! as the platform for the launch of his new book Warlock, after a fire at Hooked on Books postponed his original launch plans. He’ll be sharing readings from the book at 2 p.m. on both days in the North Lobby.
To show off some cutting edge technology, Daydream Unique will be demonstrating on site 3D printing, which creates home decor products with designs that are influenced by geometric shapes, sacred symbols and Scandinavian design.
To add more excitement to the atmosphere of the trade fair, live music will be made and Santa Claus will be visiting on both days.
Make It! costs $4 per day to attend and doors open at 10 a.m. Proceeds from admission will be donated to several local non-profit groups, including The Okanagan Upcycle Resource Society and Peach City Radio.
To find out more about the fair and to sign up for workshops, visit makeitokanagan.ca.
“It’s a celebration of the ingenuity, hard work and creativity of people in the Okanagan, and there’s lots of it in this area,” Burnham said.