We’re getting into Christmas craft fair season in the Cowichan Valley.
First up is the Fiesta World Craft Bazaar, which has been bringing the wonders of the world to the Cowichan Valley for 10 years.
On Nov. 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., vendors will transform the Founders Hall at Queen Margaret’s School into the exotic bazaars of Asia, Africa and Central and South America.
You will notice that Fiesta is very green. The majority of the artisans operate out of their homes and small workshops. The weavers, carvers, potters, tailors, etc. are using age old skills and knowledge that will carry on only if they are supported. The women can often have their young ones close and they can work part time. The artisans are also very innovative in reclaiming, re-valuing and recycling materials that would otherwise end up in landfills.
Three stores are coming to Fiesta this year: Mondo and Company from Ganges, Mystic Lotus from Parksville and Global Village Nanaimo. They are all passionate about sourcing unique designs and quality handcrafted products covering home decor, clothing, jewelry, bath and body, ornaments, food items, toys, cards and calendars, food items and so much more from more than 30 countries.
Linda of Batiqua will bring delightfully designed textiles from her native Zimbabwe. Manzoor will be selling carpets and textiles from India. Gillian and Pippa Smart will be selling sisal and wire baskets from South Africa. Look for hummingbirds from Guatemala, vases from Nicaragua, baskets from Rwanda, adorable little bears from Peru and so much more.
Lorena and Janette will be selling delicious pupusas, a traditional dish of their native El Salvador, outside from their food trailer.
Queen Margaret’s School is located at 660 Brownsey Ave., Duncan.
One of the biggest and best-known craft fairs of the season is Christmas Chaos at the Cowichan Community Centre in Duncan.
This year it is scheduled for Nov. 17 to 20.
This craft fair has been around for 42 years, bringing arts and crafts to those looking for some holiday gifts.
There will also be a Santa’s Workshop for kids and daily raffles. The event is wheelchair accessible, with special early access on Thursday afternoon for those in wheelchairs, those with strollers and seniors who might find larger crowds difficult to navigate.
There are three large rooms to explore, with local handmade products including clothing, metal work, stained glass, ornaments, food and drink, jewelry, art, pottery, woodwork, knitwear, toys, blown glass, and more.
For more information, check out https://www.cvrd.ca/2674/Christmas-Chaos
Later in the month comes the Deck the Hall Christmas Market at the Cowichan Exhibition grounds.
On Nov. 25, 26 and 27 vendors pack in and around Mellor Hall to display their wares.
The market started in 2012 with 50 vendors and now boasts more than 100 artisans from all over Vancouver Island. It’s “the perfect opportunity to get your Christmas shopping done while supporting local businesses,” say event organizers.
Booths will include jewelry, textiles, accessories, pottery, food and more.
Admission is free and there is an on-site concession, local musicians performing and door prizes.
The Cowichan Exhibition is located at 7380 Trans-Canada Hwy.
For more information go to https://www.cowex.ca/deck-the-halls/
The Cowichan Valley Naturalists are presenting “Pacific Flyway: Waterbird Migration from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego” on Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Rob Butler, scientist, author, and artist will speak about his latest book of that name with Audrey Benedict and Geoff Hammerson, starting at 7:30 p.m. via Zoom.
“The migratory waterbirds of the Pacific Flyway convert food, air, and water into a mileage plan that has few equals in the animal world. Set against a backdrop of stunning images from more than 120 internationally acclaimed photographers, this book shares the amazing stories of these migrants — a cast of characters that includes shorebirds, seabirds, and waterfowl,” says a press release.
It is the 2020 Nautilus Silver medal book award winner.
For the Zoom link, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Duncan Family History Centre has re-opened for regular hours Tuesdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m., and Wednesdays 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., and are also offering free genealogy classes at the public library in Duncan on Saturday, Nov. 12 and Saturday, Nov. 19.
“All are welcome to drop in [to the Family History Centre] for help with their genealogy research, and to get free access to premium sites including Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and many more,” said a press release. The centre is located inside the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at 1815 Tzouhalem Rd.
The Nov. 12 class at the library is from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is “Tracing Your Family Tree - For Beginners”. Gord Hamilton is the instructor.
The Nov. 19 class is also 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is “Beginning British Genealogy - 1837 to present”. The instructor is Carol Stiles.
The Freedom from War Coalition is presenting speaker Yves Engler for a talk titled “The Ugly Canadian: Justin Trudeau’s Foreign Policy” on Tuesday, Nov. 29.
The event starts at 7 p.m. at the Heritage Hall at Duncan United Church.
Admission is free though folks are encouraged to donate to help out with expenses.
Yves Engler is described as a leading critic of Canadian foreign policy and the author of 12 books.