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Kids full of artful surprises

Bratz Biz showcases woodwork of the Arnason brothers and others, as well as live music from Norman Foote

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What: Bratz Biz

When: Saturday, Dec. 8

Where: Whistler Secondary School

The Bratz Biz, a kids-only craft fair, doesn’t just showcase young artists and artisans, but also makes them as well.

“I just started making Christmas ornaments last year for the show,” said 14-year-old Nico Arnason. “Everyone liked how simple our ornaments were. I think a lot of people were really surprised with the things the kids made.”

Nico and his 10-year-old brother Anthony will be selling their handmade wooden Christmas ornaments again at the second annual Bratz Biz craft fair on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Whistler Secondary School.

Shoppers looking to dress their trees with the Arnason brothers’ ornaments better come to the fair early. Last year, the brothers sold all 200 ornaments, with people requesting custom-made orders.

“It ended up being way better than we thought,” he said of last year’s fair showing. “People really liked our stuff.”

Nico never considered himself an artisan before. But somewhere between snowboarding and mountain biking, a Grade 8 wood working class at Whistler Secondary left an impression, resulting in his decision to craft wooden ornaments for the fair.

Nico bought a band saw to work with at home, where he downsizes large sheets of plywood into smaller pieces that he draws shapes onto, such as stars, trees, hearts and Christmas stockings. Anthony then helps as the two boys sand the shapes down, drill a hole for a hanging string and paint the ornament in bright colours.

The Arnason brothers’ ornaments are a great illustration of why organizers Susan Shrimpton and Carmen Laslett created the event.

The Bratz Biz promotes “the creative and entrepreneurial spirit of young artisans” as well as family building through families working together on art projects.

“It fills a much needed gap in the arts for children,” Shrimpton said. “We’d like an opportunity for more people to see what these kids are doing. Whistler is more than a community of young athletes. We have some talented artists here.”

More than 50 talented young artisans will showcase their work, including make-your-own Christmas cards from Tazara Campbell Lopes, knitted toques from Keesun MacPherson and paintings from Erin Kerr, just to name a few.

In addition to getting a head start on Christmas shopping, the fair also hosts photos with Santa, local choir performances, snack café, face painting by Cary Campbell Lopes, kids craft workshops and live music from special guest entertainer Norman Foote.

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