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Balzac market offers alternative holiday shopping

The upcoming Balzac Christmas Market, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Balzac Community Hall, will provide Rocky View County residents an opportunity to get an early jump on holiday shopping.
Handcrafted Goods
Shoppers will be able to buy one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts at the Balzac Christmas Market Nov. 17.

The upcoming Balzac Christmas Market, Nov. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Balzac Community Hall, will provide Rocky View County residents an opportunity to get an early jump on holiday shopping. This year’s market will feature approximately fifty local vendors, according to co-organizer Kristy Rohl – an increase of about 10 vendors from last year. To accommodate the expanded market, Rohl said, some sitting space has been removed and vendors will be set up on both floors of the hall, along with the stage. “The majority of our vendors are artisan style or handmade,” she said. “You’re going to have a lot of crochet, knitted items. We’ve got lots of different artist vendors, whether it’s painting or photography, and lots of handmade jewelry.” Other vendors, Rohl said, will be peddling a variety of food products including teas, salts and fudge. With the wide variety of handcrafted products on hand, shoppers will likely find a distinctive gift for their loved ones, she added – in other words, don’t expect the usual Tupperware booths. “These are all people who actually sit down and handcraft their products,” Rohl said. “I think that kind of sets us apart.” The free market will also feature a lunch counter by Airdrie Mexican restaurant Tequila and Tacos, snacks from a mini-donut food truck and music by Jazzed Up Events. In their second year organizing the market, Rohl and co-organizer Jodanna Srebroski are excited to once again offer the long-standing Christmas market as an alternative to the mall. “It’s a bit of a continuation on the market that the Balzac Hall Board ran previous, but we’re not involved with the Hall Board, we just took on some of their vendors,” Rohl said. “Some of these vendors have been here for 12 to 15 years, doing this same market.” Preparations for the Christmas market have been underway since the summer, according to Rohl, with some vendors signing on as early as June. “We actually sold out to vendors at the end of September,” she said. While they didn’t track attendance last year, Rohl estimated at least 500 people attended the market. She anticipates seeing around 1,000 shoppers this year, spending money to support local vendors and artisans in the lead-up to the holidays. “Some of these vendors, this isn’t a business for them, it is just something they love to do on the side,” Rohl said. “This is their one chance in the year where they actually get out and sell those products that they make, and they get to interact with their neighbours.” More information on the market’s vendors can be found at facebook.com/BalzacChristmasMarket

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