Veteran winter fair organizer Bob McMinn and Caleb Pike society volunteer Daphne Allen show off a sample of jams available at Caleb Pike Heritage Park this Sunday.

Rural craft fair at Caleb Pike hits 20 year milestone

A rural winter craft fair with humble beginnings is celebrating its 20th anniversary this Sunday.

A rural winter craft fair with humble beginnings is celebrating its 20th anniversary this Sunday.

The fair started in the Caleb Pike homestead with about six vendors and artisans in 1991,  and grew steadily from there. This year the number of artisans has hit about 20.

“This gives our local artists an opportunity to sell their wares,” said Bob McMinn, the district’s first mayor and a winter fair organizer.

“I come for the jams, the baked goods and sometimes I get earrings for my daughters.”

Daphne Allen, a Caleb Pike Heritage Park society volunteer, has attended the fair since day one.

She has been the smiling face selling hot apple cider at the wood stove in the Caleb Pike house for nearly 20 years.

“I like to get Christmas ornaments and gifts for my grandchildren,” she said.

Art and homemade goods at the fair include pottery, jewelry, clothing, knitting, baking and Christmas ornaments.

“The fairs go back so far that I can hardly remember the first one,” McMinn said. “The first one was long before the school house was built.”

The school house was relocated to the Caleb Park Heritage Park in 2003. Since its addition, vendors have been in both heritage buildings on the site.

The craft fair spanned over a weekend up until a few years ago.

“At the first fair, vendors goods would stay set up (over night) and someone would sleep here to make sure no one lifted the gifts,” McMinn said.

This year to help McMinn with organizing efforts, Bessie Nuk has stepped up to the plate. Nuk has taken to Facebook and other social media to reach out to crafters and patrons to attend the fair.

The majority of artisans are from Highlands, but others are coming from Metchosin and Sooke.

Sarah Shasko has been selling her homemade preservatives and fudge at the winter fair for nearly five years, but as an 18 year resident of Highlands, she’s attended most of them.

“This is the only winter fair I do,” Shasko said. In the summer months she sells her goods at the Goldstream Station Market in Langford. “It’s a big winter event and we all get to see each other and chat.

“I am always after the baked goods and I drool over the pottery. I try to drop gift hints for my husband,” Shasko added. “Once it worked.”

As part of the 20th anniversary, a birthday cake will be presented during the fair and pieces shared with patrons, while they last.

The Highlands Winter Craft Fair is this Sunday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Caleb Pike Heritage Park, 1589 Millstream Rd.

Weekend craft fairs

-Church of the Advent Christmas craft fair Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 510 Mount View Ave.

-Hidden Valley art and craft sale, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2500 Florence Lake Rd.

-Happy Valley elementary, Christmas craft fair, Nov. 19, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3291 Happy Valley Rd.

-Craft and bake sale, Nov. 19, 1 to 4 p.m. at Gordon United Church, 935 Goldstream Ave.


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