The crowded KIAC Ballroom at the Christmas Art and Craft Fair last year
The approaching Advent Season means that it will soon be what I sometimes refer to as Bazaar Season in Dawson City. I almost hate to use the word “Christmas” this close to Hallowe’en and before Remembrance Day, but this column won’t appear until after November 11, so I can excuse myself.
These are Christmas bazaars. All of them have the word “Christmas”, or “X-Mas” in their official names.
For those who get upset over the use of “X”, don’t be. It comes from the Greek letter which is the first letter in the Greek word for “Christ” and is not, as some people seem to think, some sort of assault on the original meaning of Christmas.
The first on the list is the Dawson Daycare (or Little Blue Daycare) X-mas Bazaar, the longest running and the largest of the events. It is held annually in the Robert Service School gymnasium and is certainly the busiest and most varied of the events. This year it is on Saturday, November 18.
The display tables feature a lot of baking, craft items, a large display of goods from St, Paul’s Thrift Store, goods from the various people who handle mail order catalogues in the town, knitting, fur goods, special occasion cards and many other things.
Some groups set up registration tables at the event for their activities. The Grade 12 class always has a cake-walk contest running in the Ancillary Room next door. Other groups have small raffles and 50/50 draws going on.
Santa and his helper elves are on the stage, posing for photographs with children, who range from excited to frightened at the prospect of meeting this iconic gentleman.
There is a lot of meeting and greeting at this event, which usually comes after the first snowfall has made it a bit more difficult for people to meet each other on the streets, so it is a social event as well as a shopping trip. There is usually a concession stand as well, so this can be a lunch date.
Next in line, on Saturday, November 25, is the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture’s Christmas Art and Craft Fair, held in the KIAC Ballroom. This is a smaller space and a bit more crowded, but it is also more focussed, with vendors concentrating on painting, prints, craft cards, jewellery and all manner of products created by artists and crafts people. One corner of the room is usually set aside for a lunch area, and there is generally live music.
The last of the bazaars this year will be the Last Minute X-Mas Bazaar, to be held on Saturday, December 9 in the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community Hall. This one is more focussed on First Nation craft work: fur hats and mitts, as well as native themed carvings and artwork.
The pre-Christmas season is not all about shopping, but I’ll deal with some of those other things in another column.