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Holiday Market returns in a new location

Over 100 vendors will set up at the Westin Resort and Spa on Nov. 30 and Dec.1

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The Arts Whistler Holiday Market is moving this year.

For 2019, the event is leaving its usual home at the Whistler Conference Centre and heading to the Westin Resort & Spa.

"We weren't able to secure a booking at the conference centre, so we were so grateful to the team at the Westin for helping us bring our event to life in the new location," says Imogen Osborne, programs and events manager with Arts Whistler.

Along with Bratz Biz—which features the work of young Sea-to-Sky artisans and entrepreneurs—over 100 vendors will set up in the space on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.

And, don't worry, there's a contingency plan for shoppers who accidentally head to the conference centre. "The conference centre has been really supportive with helping us put some signage at their venue, so if people did turn up to the conference centre, they'd be directed to the road ... and a short 250-metre walk to the Westin."

The Holiday Market vendors will be set up in the ballroom and lobby area of the hotel while Bratz Biz will be located in the corridor where the retail shops are located.

This year, those vendors range from painters to jewellers to wood and leather workers, designers, candle makers and photographers, to name just a few. Between 60 and 70 per cent come from the Sea to Sky corridor, Osborne says. "We also get applications from the interior, Kelowna, Penticton," she adds. "We get a lot of applications from North and West Vancouver and some from as far away as Prince George."

There are also a few new additions to the market this year, she says.

"We've got some really good brand new vendors to the market in 2019 that we're really excited about. The first one is Leigh Joseph of Sk_wálwen Botanicals. It's a plant-based skin care company that uses Squamish Nation Indigenous plant knowledge to make skin care products. New for this year is Ariel [from] Within the Flowers who's coming with winter-themed wreaths and garlands for decorating home and office. One we're really excited about is Montis Distillery, a new distillery based out of Function Junction, they'll be bringing small-batch spirits."

While the market has always appealed to shoppers looking to support local artisans for environmental reasons, many of the vendors now have a sustainable angle to their business as well.

"We're seeing a lot more of our vendors using sustainable, recycled material or creating products that substitute for something that isn't reusable," Osborne says. "We have someone doing reusable beeswax food wax. Then we have Modern Imagination, which we've had at the market for over two years now. They do a line of wooden toys ... [which are] sustainable and handmade."

Meanwhile, to help shoppers get in the holiday spirit, there will be performers throughout the weekend—interspersed with visits from the big guy in red.

On Saturday, that includes Whistler Harp, Brilliana and Friends, and the Whistler Singers and Whistler Children's Chorus. On Sunday, you can catch Angels on High, a group from Vancouver that will be doing a cappella Christmas carols.

"We try to pick entertainment that augments that holiday, Christmas vibe in the venue," Osborne says. "It's really important to us to have that holiday spirit."

Another concurrent event that will help young Whistlerites get into the spirit of the season is a letters-to-Santa station set up in Village Square over the weekend.

"They can write their letter to Santa, put a little stamp on it there and drop that into the nearest post box," Osborne says.

With the Holiday Market being Arts Whistler's second-biggest fundraiser of the year, the organization is currently still seeking volunteers.

"We have a range of different roles for the volunteers," she says. "It is really important for all of our community programming, everything from professional development for artists to arts and crafts for kids."

The Arts Whistler Holiday Market runs from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 30, and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Dec. 1.

Entry is by donation. To see the full list of vendors or for more information on volunteering, visit artswhistler.com/holiday-market.

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