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The Feminist Fair: a craft market with a social justice twist—11.04.18

By Davis Carr on October 31, 2018





November is the season for craft shows, as vendors and makers hawk their wares for the holiday season. But the Feminist Fair is different than other craft markets in the city.

The Feminist Fair is a craft market with a social justice twist, bringing together DIY art and politics. The fair is a great opportunity to support women and queer folks in Ottawa and their work: “The goal of the fair is to create a safe(r) feminist space,” says Jenna Spagnoli, one half of the Feminist Twins, who organize the event every year, “where people can meet like-minded folks, support local women and queer businesses, and learn more about the work being done in the Ottawa community.”

In a time when there is increasing awareness of issues of sexism, racism and ableism, the Feminist Fair is more important than ever. “There are many people who are engaged in feminism and activism in Ottawa,” Jenna told Apt613 over email, “so it’s also important to create spaces to acknowledge and celebrate the work being done.”

The Feminist Fair is organized by Ottawa’s Feminist Twins, Jenna and Kayla Spagnoli. The Feminist Twins are (actual) twins living here in Ottawa and like to promote womyn and safe(r) space and events and cool people. “We are basically a two person cheerleading squad (minus the pom poms).”

Jewelry, zines and pizza, oh my!

Some of goodies of the Feminist Fair you will find all the staples of craft markets and shows: buttons, pins, patches, jewellery, clothing, bags, books, zines, prints, art, donuts, plants, and more, all created by local artists. This year, the Fair will feature free, vegan pizza by Little Jo Berry’s — but it’s first come, first serve, so be sure you’re there at noon to get a slice.

But among vendors like Lucky Little Queer and Doughbaby Doughnuts, you will also find tables with local non profits and grassroots organizations like OCTEVAW and Dyke March Ottawa showcasing their work and connecting with potential volunteers.

The venue is also a new change for the Feminist Fair. Moving to Makerspace North allowed the Fair to double in size, bringing in more vendors, and making the Fair more accessible than ever before.

This year, they also worked with a Steering Committee, who helped “ensure that the fair is reflective of our collective values and that the fair is as accessible as possible (within our budget),” the Twins said in an email interview.

Toiletries donations will be accepted for the STORM (Street Team Outreach Mobile) from Minwaashin Lodge. Pictured are last year’s donated goods.

All about the Feminist Fair

The 5th Feminist Fair takes place on Sunday November 4th, 2018 at Makerspace North. Folks of all ages can drop by any time from 11am-4pm. There is even child-minding on site, with a craft table and colouring books that kids can use while their parents peruse the wares (or join in the fun!). To sign up for childminding, simply visit the childminding station when you arrive.

The entrance fee is Pay What You Can, with all proceeds going towards the Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre. Last year, the Fair raised $1800, and this year, they are aiming higher. They will also be accepting toiletries for the STORM (Street Team Outreach Mobile) from Minwaashin Lodge.

The venue can be accessed by stairs or ramp. You can drive your car to the top of the ramp, as there is parking. There will be additional parking in the general City Centre parking lot. Please note that parking is free for the first 90 minutes. Private washrooms are not large enough to bring a wheelchair inside but they can be left outside the doors. Washrooms will be gender neutral.