Bratz Biz isn't your typical Christmas craft fair, that chaotic hodgepodge of messy, yet well-meaning popsicle-stick ornaments and the like. Rather, this annual event offers up a range of high-quality products from the area's young, creative artisans.
Sure, the communities of Whistler and Pemberton are full of athletic children who have been whizzing around on skis since they could toddle - that's a given. But there are also a lot of talented, budding artists in our midst and Bratz Biz organizer Susan Shrimpton points out that there aren't often opportunities for them to showcase their skills.
Shrimpton and another Whistler mom, Carmen Laslett, started the event three years ago as an outlet for their own creative children. The idea quickly grew beyond a kids-only craft fair and evolved into an opportunity for children from Grades 3 to 12 to gain entrepreneurial skills.
"It is more than just a kids-only craft fair with a bunch of amateur crafts; it's a whole process. The jurying process is not like an adult craft fair, we actually walk the kids through everything from improving their design to finishing it with a slightly more professional finish to packaging, marketing, we... help them plan their displays, so that each and every vendor is going to be successful on that day."
Now, organizers and participants are busily preparing for the fourth Bratz Biz event, which will be held on Saturday, Dec. 5 at Whistler Secondary School's multi-purpose room. The response from kids this year has been "overwhelming," and organizers are hoping to be able to have as many as 60 tables at this year's event.
Laslett and Shrimpton have already held a series of jurying panels, which allowed participants to workshop and refine their product ideas, but it isn't too late to send in an application.
"We're more than willing to look at late submissions, especially in areas where we're not already full," Shrimpton said.
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Diamond and Pearls to help Squamish shine
Sea to Sky Community Services is hosting its second annual Diamond and Pearls Gala Saturday, Oct. 17, starting at 5:30 p.m. at Totem Hall.
The event includes live music by 3 rd Octave Down and Bluesberry Jam, plus a silent auction, cocktail reception, and delicious dinner, with proceeds from the evening going towards the completion of a new home for the Community Services Society in downtown Squamish.
Tickets are $100 per person or $700 for a table of eight, and they are available at the Sea to Sky Office. Call 604-892-5796 for more information.