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Christmas markets kick off the holidays in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'Christmas markets kick off holiday spirit in Kelowna' Christmas markets kick off holiday spirit in Kelowna
There are plenty of opportunities to pick out a gift that will bring a smile to everyone on your list this year, as Christmas market fever dominated social calendars. Sydney Morton checked out a few of the first markets kicking off the season. – Dec 4, 2021

The latest dusting of snow over Kelowna coupled with a weekend full of Christmas markets could put even the Grinch in the holiday spirit.

Craft Culture, an indoor market featuring 180 vendors from the valley and a few from neighbouring province Alberta, has returned to Prospera Place for the weekend. The annual event inspires visitors to support local businesses while picking out the perfect presents for everyone on their lists.

“We’re seeing how important it is to support local, especially when everything is cut off and supply chains are cut off,” said Karalyn Lockhart, Craft Culture event producer.

“Being able to shop local and purchase things that are right here in your community and the money is going right back to families right here.”

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One of the almost 200 vendors set up at the market is Aboriginal Creeations, displaying intricate dream catchers.

“I took the traditional dream catcher and I make animal shapes and I called them spirit catchers,” said Nancy Luis of Aboriginal Creeations.

“I capture the spirit at the animal and then the other thing is I write stories from the animal’s perspective.”

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H.O.P.E. Outreach, an initiative that helps marginalized women seven nights a week in Kelowna and Vernon, is selling its Jewels of Hope bracelets, which are the product of workshops it hosts once a month with the women it supports.

“We get together with the disenfranchised women living unsheltered in downtown Kelowna, we get them all together, we make bracelets, we have a fun pizza night and we just spend some quality time with the girls,” H.O.P.E. Outreach volunteer Chelsea Mathews said.

“At the end, we actually end up paying them with gift cards and then with the proceeds that we make selling our bracelets, it goes back into (the) program.”

Craft Culture will run until Sunday, Dec. 5 and tickets are available online.

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Just down the street, a section of Kelowna’s Water Street has gotten the European Christmas treatment for a one-day event on Saturday, Dec. 4

“We’ve got our artisan vendors all around, we’ve got mulled wine as well cider available for purchase,” said Mark Burley of the Downtown Kelowna Associaton.

“We’ve got lots for everybody.”

Complete with an outdoor market and live music, you could top the event off with a skate around the rink before the tree was lit at 6 p.m. The tree will remain lit into the new year.

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