Inspired by the quaint winter markets still popular across Europe, Wakefielder Jackie Hansen proposed that her village launch one of their own.
This Saturday, that community will welcome revelers from across the Outaouais and NCR to celebrate the season at the Wakefield Christmas Market.
I got a chance to ask Jackie what’s in store and what it’s about.
“We are so excited to start this new holiday tradition! I wanted to create an event that I’d want to go to.”
Billed as family-friendly, the new market – just a 30-minute drive north of downtown Ottawa in the ultimate picturesque wintery setting – promises something for everybody.
With the focus entirely on local, over 30 vendors will be on hand with artisanal wares from meat and sweets to crafts, pottery, and textiles … even produce.
Hot beverages like mulled wine and apple cider made with local product will keep everyone warm, as well as hot chocolate (with an optional shot of Bailey’s = oh yes!).
Market stalls will span the parking lot of the Alpengruss Café Motel. Owner Jessica Harris, a Wakefield native, is the co-organizer (with Jackie) of this “community-building” event. Her restaurant will do double-duty as both a warming station and Santa photo studio.
Visitors are encouraged to come for the shopping, stay for the celebration.
Bring your appetite in order to partake of soothing scratch-made supper items like stew, chili, sausages, and burgers – all from high-quality local meat. An area bison farmer will be handing out free samples. A local maple syrup producer will be doing snow taffy. You get the idea.
In addition to shopping and feasting, there’s merry-making.
Horse-drawn wagon ride, anyone? Communing with friends around the bonfire. Kids’ activities organized by the local pre-school. Live music by Lindsay Ferguson, Martha Cooper & Friends, and carolers. And an innovative community art project: write or draw holiday wishes on ornaments that will adorn the Wakefield Christmas tree (to be ceremoniously lit at 6pm) for the whole season. You can also craft wreaths, bird feeders, and contribute to an intriguing “snow-painting quilt”.
“Everyone really pulled together around this idea. We don’t want it to be just about buying and selling things, it’s a celebration of community.”
The Wakefield Christmas Market is happening this Saturday, December 14 from 4-8pm. 831 chemin Riverside (Alpengruss Café Motel). Parking is available across the street and down the road.