KINBURN – The Kinburn Christmas Craft Fair is 39-years-old and Ottawa resident Pat Vaillancourt has never missed one.
The craft fair was held at the Kinburn Community Centre last Saturday (Nov. 9) and 82 vendors filled every available space in the entire building.
In the same corner Pat sets up her tables each and every year with her husband René, you could be mistaken for thinking they were a couple of locals.
Pat makes hand-knit products and sells them at ridiculous prices. West Carleton Online bought two pairs of beautiful mittens (and wishes we bought more) and paid $8. Colourful toques were available for $5. Apparently, Pat works for an hourly rate of about 10 cents.
Not only that, the couple know absolutely everyone in Kinburn dating back 40 years. We spoke about parents of kids this reporter went to school with 35 years ago.
“I love it,” Pat told West Carleton Online Saturday afternoon. “I’ve been coming up all those years. They’re just like a big happy family. Jayne (Coady) does a great job of running it. The same people come year after year.”
Pat’s husband always comes to the fair too. He remembers working at the Civic Hospital with long-time West Carleton Review publisher and Kinburn resident Derek Walter.
Pat also has some cousins who live in Kinburn, but it’s not just about visiting – there’s money to be made.
“The flow of traffic has been great,” Pat said. “When we first started, tables (for vendors) were $5.”
Fair organizer Coady is found in the kitchen, making sure there is a light lunch and snacks for those hungry, hungry shoppers.
Coady is a member of the Ottawa Valley Strong Ladies Fastpitch masters team (45 and up) that won gold at the European Masters Games held in Torino, Italy last summer. Several of her teammates are on hand to volunteer their time.
She says it’s been a great day so far (there was a couple hours of shopping left when West Carleton Online arrived).
“We bumped up our vendors a bit over last year,” Coady told West Carleton Online while on a short break. “It’s all been really, really great. We’ve got a real eclectic group of vendors from Pembroke to Cornwall and of course so many great local vendors.”
Coady herself fills many roles at the fair. When organizers knew they needed some food, Coady approached her teammates and said “let’s come in and run that canteen.”