Spruce things up

There’s no point in making things just to decorate your garage – that’s how the Spruce Bog Craft Sale got its start, said Pam Charman, co-ordinator of the sale.

“People just wanted to make things,” she said. “They wanted to be creative and they needed a place to sell things. It’s difficult to break into the retail market, so four or five people (within the Yukon Craft Society) sat down and thought up the idea.”

That was roughly four decades ago, and the event – which Charman said was initially largely “young moms at home with kids who were looking to do something to keep their sanity” – has exploded in size. The sale skipped around from venue to venue as it grew – it used to fit easily inside the gym at Whitehorse Elementary – until about 10 years ago, when it moved to the flexi hall at the Canada Games Centre.

“It was the biggest space available,” Charman said.

This year’s market takes place Saturday, November 18 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Doors open at 10:15 a.m. for seniors and those with mobility issues. There are plenty of returning vendors, as well as a few newbies, for a total of roughly 100 booths.

Charman said there’s great diversity in the items for sale because there are really no rules about what vendors can sell – applications are open to any kind of crafting, as long the work for sale is handmade and not mass-produced.

Makers from Whitehorse, Dawson City, Tagish, Teslin and Carcross will sell standard craft items, including knits, crocheting, candles, jewellery and paintings. The free event will also feature coffee roasters, stained-glass makers, granite serving boards, gems and essential oils.

Twisted Gourmet, from Whitehorse, will be selling their small-batch spice blends. Novelist Kevin Linville will also be there with his self-published book The Big People. There will also be soaps, lotions, bath bombs and personal hygiene items – something that’s become more common in recent years.

“That didn’t really exist back when the sale started,” Charman said. “Trends sort of come and go. There was a period of time when we had lots of people who did macramé and then we had lots of people who did woodwork.”

Charman said she expects this year to be quite busy. On average, the event has an attendance of 4,000 people. On a slow year (like the years Wal-Mart and the Superstore opened right around the same time as the sale), it might only see 3,500. This year though, with the Save-On Foods opening out of the way, Charman expects a return to form.

“It does tend to be a pretty hustling place until 2 p.m. and then it thins out so you don’t have to wear a face guard to keep the elbows out of your mouth,” she said.

For those who can’t make it on the 18th, there’s also a 14-day boutique open at the Westmark Hotel from December 7 to 20. The hours are Monday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Thursday and Friday 10 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m, and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The selection isn’t quite the same as the one-day fair, but a number of Spruce Bog vendors will be there to sell and answer questions about the work.

For more information, visit SpruceBog.com

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