ESTEVAN — The Estevan Kinettes returned their Christmas Marketplace to its pre-pandemic scale with 70 vendors spread across Wylie-Mitchell and Estevan Exhibition Halls on Saturday.
Janelle Luddington, who spearheads the Kinettes Christmas Marketplace, said they had people waiting to get in well ahead of time and about 300 shoppers made it through the doors just in the first hour of the sale. The marketplace opened at 10 a.m. and ran through 4 p.m.
"Our show has always been known for being the biggest one in Estevan before Christmas, so a lot of people will start their Christmas shopping here and some might even finish it with the number of vendors that we have," Luddington said. "It's good to see it being busy, and everyone seems very happy so far."
The Kinettes Christmas sale has been running on the same weekend as the St. Joseph’s Hospital Foundation’s Festival of Trees. The last few years, the partnership between the foundation and the Estevan Kinette Club grew even stronger, and the two events started running under the same umbrella. However, Luddington noted that while all proceeds from the Kinettes’ Christmas Marketplace will go to the hospital, they aren’t part of the Festival of Trees, as in that sense the two events are still separate.
"The proceeds from [the Christmas Marketplace] go to the maternity ward, it doesn't count for the total of the Festival of Trees, but it goes to the maternity ward maintenance … and it will benefit the hospital," Luddington said.
The Christmas sale has been running for close to 40 years now, first organized by the local Quota Club and then by the Kinettes. It's seen some changes in format throughout its history, but it's always served as a fundraiser for the community's needs and has also been a big Christmas kick-off sale.
The Christmas marketplace started as a craft show, then slowly grew into a craft/trade show with many home-based businesses involved. Luddington noted that lately the number of crafters willing to participate started going up again.
"Our goal has always been to be a craft show. Then crafting became less popular and we opened it to home-based businesses, and we became a craft and trade show. And thank God for Pinterest because people started crafting more, and now, we are getting back into being more crafters, but we still have some home-based businesses," Luddington explained.
This year the Kinettes upped the number of vendors to 70 from 49 a year ago, yet still had more on their waiting list. Those who partook in the event for many years were joined by quite a few new vendors. They also try to keep the marketplace diverse and interesting for customers, so that everyone could benefit from the event.
Luddington thanked the community for being a part of their traditional kick-off to Christmas.
"We always want to thank Estevan for their support. We can't put this on and help raise funds for the community without people. And we appreciate them and our vendors for coming out and supporting us," Luddington said. "It's a good time and it always gives you that feel of Christmas.”
The planning for next year has already started, and Luddington said that even though she moved to Pilot Butte she plans to continue helping organize the Estevan Kinettes Christmas Marketplace.