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2023 Medieval Market opens doors in Williams Lake

The two-day event is already jam-packed and is open Nov. 18 and 19

Doors for the Medieval Market opened bright and early on Nov. 18 at Lake City Secondary School.

Music filled the air and vendors set up throughout hallways and in the gym, dressed in cloaks and long dresses. The jam-packed event has over 110 talented artisans with handmade goods to fill stockings, decorate walls or provide cozy warmth for years to come. Expect to find apothecary, knitted sweaters, oil paintings, hand-carved wooden toys, salt and pepper grinders, sausages, jewellery, and more. In other words, you name it, the market has it.

Dressed in green sat Santa Claus (Walter Hlookoff) with some Christmas elves, ready to hear Christmas wishes from children.

“It’s interesting to see how the children react,” said Hlookoff, whether glee or nerves.

Nearby Santa Claus stood Jim and Sherry Hedges of Tiny Timber Toy Company, with beautiful wooden toy cars, puzzles and even charcuterie boards.

Jim has been building wooden toys for his grandsons for the last ten years and selling with the Medieval Market for three years. Once COVID-19 hit, and the couple couldn’t visit their grandkids in Kamloops one year, their children encouraged them to start selling their toys instead.

“We love this market,” said Sherry, who makes the puzzles and other items with a scroll saw.

The duo calls their grandkids the “toy testers,” who take their job very seriously..

Harry Jennings and Sharon Hoffman stood nearby singing Blue Christmas, Hoffman on the ukulele, and Jennings sounding of a striking appearance to Elvis. They sang other tunes, too, including Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer.

Donice Steel (Do Nice Design) and Iris Mes Low (Iris Mes Low Art) had booths next to each other in the gym. Each of them new vendors living in the Likely area, Steel encouraged Mes Low to feature her artwork at the market this year after Steel had success bringing her wall hangings, mugs and thermoses to the market last year.

“I love it,” said Steel, a retired bus and limousine driver from Vancouver. Her business didn’t make it through COVID-19, so she moved to Likely in 2021 and began making Indigenous art, also available at Chief Will-Yum Gas Bar. Steel is from the We Wai Kai nation.

Mes Low, who immigrated from Holland, loves being in the Cariboo and the nature provided here.

“You can’t beat it,” said Mes Low, who gets inspiration for her mixed medium artwork from everywhere.

Other vendors included Coleen and Bob Onofrechuk of Col of the Wild, who have been at the market for two years now. They’ve been in the area for 30 years and collect much of their driftwood from around Horsefly Lake, where they live. Bob does a lot of the woodworking (such as a stunning wooden rocking horse), and Coleen recycles things as much as she can, taking driftwood and making wall decor or turning diamond paintings into towel holders or trays.

“We enjoy doing things together,” said Coleen.

The couple is now retired and spends time in their workshop and she shed, as well as travelling whenever they can. Coleen worked for the Child Development Centre for 33 years, and Bob was a lumber inspector for the Cariboo Lumber Manufacturers Association.

Long-time vendors Willie and Audrey Dye of Simply DyeVine Fudge greeted attendees near the front entrance, their stand filled with handmade fudge. The couple looked happy to be back (as did many attendees filling their bags).

Be sure to check out the two-day event on Saturday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 19, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.