Post by Kassandra Engmann
For the past 4 years, Jenna and Kayla Spagnoli have been creating a unique space for women led local businesses and initiatives to share their work with the public and on November 12, the Feminist Twins are going to do it again.
The Feminist Fair is a vendor’s craft market and showcase for non-profit organizations. Attendees can expect to find zines, buttons, plants, books, clothing and much more from the various vendors. The event is for all ages and everyone is encouraged to pay what you can. All proceeds are directed to Voice Found, a charity that works towards the prevention of child sex abuse and commercial exploitation. The fair will also be accepting toiletries donations for STORM which supports sex trade workers and women at risk. No one will ever be turned away for a lack of funds! It’s a part of the organizer’s aims that people can attend the festival worry free, which is a part of the reason why there will be a free lunch from local bakery, Little Jo Berry’s, this year.
What makes this craft fair particularly unique is the twins’ commitment to making the event inclusive for all by selecting a venue that is accessible by elevator and has gender neutral washrooms.
Noa Charon has been a vendor for the Feminist Fair since its conception and they’re attracted to the fair for just that reason. “I’m mis-gendered often. As a result, being in feminist spaces can be incredibly alienating and difficult, to the point where I’ve pretty much stopped attending feminist events, demonstrations, etc. all-together. The Feminist Fair, however, is different. Of course, I can’t deny that how well things go financially isn’t a factor, but I won’t do just any craft market… I get to see many of my trans and non-binary friends tabling all around the room, and I brim with joy whenever I see someone excited over what they’re selling.” They continue to further express that “the time and effort that goes into the Feminist Fair is very apparent, not just in regards to accessibility, or in addressing vendors’ and visitors’ personal safety and concerns, or the donations they set up, but also in putting together this event that works out so well, and is so much fun”.
The fair seems to have become a gathering point for feminists in Ottawa. The twins have a long history of involvement with the Ottawa feminist community, Kayla being a former co-manager of SlutWalk Ottawa and Jenna’s work with the Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre. The fair is yet another project that allows members of the community to support one another and feel connected in a more intimate setting. Last year they met a milestone of 300 attendees and hope to reach 500 this year.
The Feminist Fair 2017 takes place on November 12 at the Montgomery Legion (330 Kent Street) from 11am-4pm. Admission is pay what you can, with proceeds being donated to Voice Found. The venue is accessible and there is an elevator in the building (the fair is on the 2nd floor). Two gender neutral washrooms are on site.