Annual bazaar largest of its kind in Canada

World Craft Bazaar happens in the Comox Valley this weekend.

DIPALI PRAMANAK WORKS in India with the group Sasha.

For 21 years Fiesta World Craft Bazaar has been bringing smiles, goodwill and connections between global artisans, non-profit and business vendors, and the people of the Comox Valley.

Last year, over 2,000 smiling people shopped for unique, quality, handcrafted gifts that were brought to the Valley from around the world.

This Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., vendors from the length of the Island and the Mainland will again present Canada’s largest fair trade global craft fair. The bazaar will cover the world with over 110 tables across both floors of the Filberg Centre in Courtenay.

It is always exciting to introduce new vendors to the Valley.

One Leaf Creations from Vancouver will bring exquisite handmade Himalayan knitwear and traditional Tibetan shawls, throws, and blankets. The Gaddi people of Himachal Pradesh are incredibly accomplished when it comes to creating garments from the wool of their sheep.

One Leaf Creations also sells ethically created and eco-friendly handcrafted leather works. Their one of a kind bags, belts and purses are made by small family groups in the desert state of Rajastan in western India.

Fiesta will host human rights worker Julio Cochoy and will showcase beautiful fairly traded jewelry from the Maya Skills Women’s Cooperative of Guatemala.

Julio is the founder of the co-operative and author of Voices Breaking the Silence of Utitlan. Have a talk about with Julio and learn about the process of healing that he and his community are undertaking to deal with their traumatic past.

Shannan Brown of Victoria is the volunteer project co-ordinator for a women’s micro-finance project called Bridge to Africa. It is located in Moshi, Tanzania near Mount Kilimanjaro. The project is selling brightly coloured Tanzanian fabric, carry bags for e-readers and yoga mats, small purses, aprons, jewelry and more.

Also new this year is the Gathering Place, a family-owned business from Cortes Island that has been selling superior quality organic herbal teas from South Africa and 14 different organic spices from family farms in India. They also have Antarctic pure sea salt, sea salt with kelp, and sea salt with organic pepper.

As you wander around the bazaar, you will be amazed at the creativity and the talent of those who are often the marginalized peoples of the globe.

Tabitha Handcraft Project will be back at Fiesta. They are working to preserve the culture and customs of the Karen tribe of northeast Thailand. They are enabling the women to stay in their homes and earn a sustainable income, making everything from functional backpacks to superb silver jewellery.

The ever-popular 10000 Villages Store will bring a truckload of wonders from their store in Victoria, carvings, ornaments, toys, musical instruments, fair trade food products, and so much more.

Bring your children to do their own shopping and then let them have fun and get their faces painted in the childcare area with the youth from the Interact clubs of Vanier, Highland and Isfeld secondary schools.

You can support our own Valley programs that make a wonderful difference, such as Art Cards out of the Courtenay Recreation Centre, L’Arche will have its delicious soups, cards, calendars and a new stocking stuffer, chocolate cake in a mug!

Admission to Fiesta costs $2, and the venue is wheelchair-accessible.

Visit www.fiestafairtradefair.org to learn more and like us on Facebook at Fiesta World Craft Bazaar.

— Fiesta World Craft Bazaar

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