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Show highlights female entrepreneurs, artists

Women-run businesses and female artists will be at the center of the Ava Blake Show, an upscale market-style event, Nov. 9 at the Apple Creek Golf Course, between Airdrie and Crossfield.

Ava Blake owner Jenny Pyykonen, who hosted the Alberta Dames Vintage Market for five years, is running the event. According to Pyykonen, 98 per cent of the vendors on hand will be women – a statistic she said is an inspiration to other female artists or entrepreneurs.

“You go in there and you see these people who are so excited, who love what they do, and are just passion-filled about doing it every day,” she said. “It sparks something in someone else to look at it and think, ‘I can do that, too.’”

Pyykonen said more than 50 personally-selected vendors and artisans will be featured at the event, with some travelling from as far away as Medicine Hat to showcase their wares. She said the products featured will include artwork, hand-sewn clothing, organic body products, ceramics, jewellery and baked goods.

“Passion-filled people are whom I pick,” she said. “People who literally light up when they talk about their products – those are the people I like to pick for the show.”

Vendors are split into categories, related to niches such as fashion, body care and art. Pyykonen said she selects just two vendors for each specific category, to ensure plenty of variety for shoppers.

“I’m really picky when I pick my vendors because I think of being the consumer, and I don’t want to see five of the same thing,” she said.

The event will also include various door prizes. According to Pykkonen, there will be draws for three Tiffany and Co. bracelets, each valued at $225, as well as a photography package worth $800 and three one-month passes to Oranj Fitness Airdrie.

Live entertainment will also be provided, courtesy of blues musician Mitch Belot and the Mitch Belot Band.

Pyykonen said she aims for her events to be all about fun and socializing.

“For me, in the realm of these women-run businesses, it’s just about people royally kicking butt,” she said. “The energy is so high at any event I’ve ever done and it’s really fun.”

She added an event like the Ava Blake Show helps bring together the traditional idea of a local business or artist and a small-scale entrepreneur, who uses means like Instagram and word of mouth to advertise products.

“Years ago, you would only be acknowledged as an artist if you were in an art gallery,” she said. “Now, with these locally-run events, we’re bridging the gap of that traditional business…on the street corner [and the idea of] ‘This is my passion, and I like playing around with it.’”

Tickets to the Ava Blake Show are $6 at the door, though attendees 13 and under will get in for free. According to Pyykonen, a to-be-determined portion of sales will support Beads of Courage, through the Kidney Foundation of Canada.

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Scott Strasser

About the Author: Scott Strasser

Scott Strasser, sports/RCMP reporter
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