Peace, Community & Christmas Tradition at the Grimshaw Christmas Market Love Local: Northwestern Alberta Makers & Creators
By Laura Hanna | Photography submitted
With a history of about 30 years, the Grimshaw Christmas Market (GCM) has become a holiday tradition in the Peace Region. In recent years, it has drawn up to 101 vendors.
GCM is held on the third Saturday in November. This year’s market will take place at the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex on November 19 from 10am to 4pm.
Tanya Wearden, 47, is a director of the Mile Zero Regional Multiplex Society in Grimshaw. Since 2011, she has been GCM’s primary organizer. Wearden organizes the event’s participants, registers vendors, and handles the promotion and marketing.
“I work with a great crew of co-workers and volunteers who help make the event come together. This year, we’re partnering with the Grimshaw FCSS [Family and Community Support Services]. Tracy Halerewich is the Town’s Director of Community Services and will be hosting the market on our behalf,” said Wearden.
The GCM was originally a community fundraiser, and it has continued to grow in size and popularity since.
Today, the GCM has become a beloved part of the Christmas season for locals as it continues raising funds for the community of Grimshaw.
This year, a $2 admission fee is charged at the door for everyone 12 years and older. Proceeds benefit the Grimshaw Splash Park Development Project, which is projected to begin in spring 2023.
“This market is really a fantastic fundraising event,” said Wearden. “When the previous operators offered us the takeover in 2011, we said ‘yes’ immediately. We didn’t want to see it leave the community. There were 67 vendors my first year running the event in 2011. In 2019, the year before COVID, we incredibly hosted 101 vendor, which come from all over the Peace Country.”
The market has become such a large-scale production it takes a small village to help put it together.
Wearden and her team are already busy making their lists and checking them twice. They are hard at work months in advance.
With the feeling of Christmas in the air, vendors diligently create beautiful and decadent handmade goods in preparation for the big day.
“People come from all over the Peace Country to find that special something from their favorite vendors at the Grimshaw Christmas Market,” said Wearden. “Over one hundred vendors will be showcasing their products. It really is a one-stop Christmas shopping experience. Each year is a little different, depending on what’s being created and crafted.”
Offering delicious treats and unique gift giving ideas, the GCM has something for everyone.
The aroma of fresh baked goodies creates the perfect pre-Christmas atmosphere for patrons to spend the day browsing the handcrafted wares and checking off names on their Christmas list.
“Each vendor has their own booth, which comes complete with long draped curtains. It’s very professional and makes for a more intimate shopping experience. Some vendors have been attending the Christmas market for years. We try to give returning vendors the same spot, which makes for a familiar shopping experience for returning customers,” said Wearden.
“Located along the south wall, the Berwyn Farmers Market draws a lot of people. With Christmas cakes and canned goods, they are a fan favorite, for sure,” said Wearden.
For many, the one-day event is excitedly marked on the calendar year after year. After two years of COVID-19 restrictions, there is a lot of buzz and excitement for this year’s market.
The Grimshaw Christmas Market and Mile Zero Regional Multiplex are looking for new members and volunteers.