Check your Christmas list twice and head to the Holiday Market 

Arts Whistler event and Bratz Biz return on Nov. 24 and 25

click to enlarge PHOTO BY KAT WILLSON/ SUBMITTED - shopping spree Local vendors will have their work on display at the Holiday Market on Nov. 24 and 25.
  • photo by Kat Willson/ submitted
  • shopping spree Local vendors will have their work on display at the Holiday Market on Nov. 24 and 25.

In Whistler, one beloved event kicks off the holiday season: the Arts Whistler Holiday Market (formerly known as Bizarre Bazaar).

The event packs over 100 vendors into the Whistler Conference Centre to sell crafts, treats, clothing, jewelry, pottery and an array of gifts made by local artisans and artists.

"It's basically sold out from the vendor side," says Mo Douglas, executive director of Arts Whistler. "We can't get any bigger. Every year, we're maxed out."

In total this year, there are 103 vendors representing 107 booths (with some vendors manning two booths), as well as Whistler's young entrepreneurs running 34 booths as part of Bratz Biz.

That long-running event (which is organized separately from the market, but takes place in the same area at the same time) helps local kids sell their artisan items alongside their more established counterparts at the market.

"It's so excellent to see kids putting that dedication into the craft," Douglas says. "It's super fun for the community to see the kids they know, the parents they know, showcasing what they can do within the community—and even more fun to show that to visitors. I always leave with a huge grin."

On the market side, this year around 65 per cent of vendors are from the Sea to Sky corridor with the other 45 per cent hailing from around B.C.

"I think word is definitely spreading," says Stephanie McColm, who manages the market. "We got twice the amount of applications as last year."

The market—which runs from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 24 and again from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25—is also popular with local shoppers.

"I've been around here a long time, and not directly at Arts Whistler," Douglas says. "Back in the day, Bizarre Bazaar and the ski swap were the primary events coming into the winter season. I was working (the event) last year and you see so many locals come out of the woodwork."

To that end, the event also helps raise funds for Arts Whistler with donations collected at the door. This year, they also have a "wheel of fortune," she adds. "We have a number of goods that come from the vendors and they contribute to help us fundraise. There's food, soaps, Arts Whistler passes to shows, a membership, discount to the Gift Shop. Every spin is a win."

There will be some food on site—and coffee and other hot drinks by Portobello—as well as live music from a range of talent and visits from the big guy himself throughout the weekend.

"You can get some snaps of your kids with Santa," Douglas says. "He'll be dropping by."

Her other piece of advice includes arriving "well fuelled."

"You can refuel with coffee, but it's good to never shop on an empty stomach. Bring some shopping bags and wear comfortable shoes. The Holidays Market, if you're doing it, is an endurance sport."

For more information, or to see the list of vendors, visit artswhistler.com/holiday-market.

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