“We’re very excited about the warm welcome at our new location,” says Pam Charman, events organizer for the Yukon Crafts Society. After many years hosting the Spring Spruce Bog Craft Fair at the Gold Rush, they’ve moved to the Westmark.
And with a higher-than-normal number of vendors, this year’s fair needs two rooms to fit everyone, stretching from the Westmark ballroom into a room across the hall.
Usually much smaller than the Christmas Spruce Bog, which hosts 100 vendors and pulls in up to 4,500 shoppers in the one day it runs, this year’s Spring fair will boast around 40 crafters and artists selling their work.
“It’s probably about the biggest one we’ve had,” Charman says. “Everyone is interested in participating in our new – dare I say – home.”
“There are some new things to look at, and a lot of the old favourites as well,” Charman says.
This includes things like soaps and body lotions made with local Yukon ingredients, jewelry, children’s books, pottery, and local artwork.
And it’s all entirely handmade.
“That’s what makes the Spruce Bog different from other craft fairs,” Charman says. “Everything in this sale is conceived and designed and handmade by the person behind the table. There’s no re-selling of something handmade in Nicaragua. It has to be handmade here.”
“There’s a woman who makes things like purses and aprons out of recycled denim, and a man who makes his own wooden puzzles. There are 100 per cent merino wool designs in the Yukon tartan, and dog leashes and collars made from paracord. There’s gold nugget jewelry, and a young woman who began making sock monkeys out of men’s wool socks, who has branched out to make “all kinds of adorable creatures,” says Charman.
“For Easter, you go into stores like Walmart and everything is candy,” Charman says. “These are gifty things that aren’t high in calories.”
Of course, she says, calories will still hold their place at the fair – you’ll be able to get edible handmade items, too.
“My booth is nothing but calories!” she says, adding that “chocolate is one of those celebratory things you have at all occasions.”
This year the Yukon Crafts Society turned 40, and the spring sale is almost as old. Not always as popular as the Christmas sale, for several years it simply didn’t run. But it’s been running strong since the 80s, Charman says, and has an intimacy simply not possible at the much larger – and much busier – Christmas sale.
“It’s a little more comfortable and a slightly slower pace,” she says. “Vendors have time to talk and answer questions and explain their craft.
“What you see on the table is made by the person behind it.”
And the Spring Spruce Bog’s slower pace allows you to get to know that person.
The Spring Spruce Bog Craft Fair is Saturday, March 12th, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Westmark Whitehorse Ballroom. There is also an early opening at 10:15 a.m. for seniors and those with mobility issues.