Santa Claus has come to town, riding shotgun with Kelly-Ann Argue on the Plows & Petticoats carriage. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Santa Claus has come to town, riding shotgun with Kelly-Ann Argue on the Plows & Petticoats carriage. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Christmas Market fosters the joy of the season and fundraising

Chamber teams up with many businesses and sponsors for a truly festive occasion

The spirit of the holiday season is already alive and well in Chemainus one month before Christmas.

The atmosphere at the first-ever Chemainus & District Chamber of Commerce Christmas Market Saturday was festive and the generosity exhibited during the day ensured the yuletide will be bright for so many.

Chamber President Stephanie Ballantyne noted the spirit of giving was in full swing at the market and FUNdraiser that raised $7,222.50 through sale contributions and charitable donations.

Organized by the Chamber of Commerce with sponsorship from Island Savings, the 49th Parallel Grocery and Seniors 101, the event attracted more than 750 residents and visitors to Waterwheel Square.

“People of all ages gathered to see Santa on the Plows and Petticoats carriage, shop the great selection of unique gifts, art and baked goods at the market vendors,” Ballantyne added. “It was so popular that the 49th Parallel ran out of hotdogs by mid-afternoon.”

The 89.7 Juice FM Cruiser stopped by with Elf Lorraine Keen and Elf Brenda Burch from Toys, Toiletries & Toques to collect the new, non-food items for distribution to the Cowichan Valley food banks. Approximately $1,000 in items were donated at the event and local donation boxes throughout town at Pharmasave, The Great Canadian Dollar Store, Chemainus Public Market and Little Angels Children’s Boutique where owner Carol Hodgins doubled the volume of warm clothing by matching contributions.

Non-profit market vendors St. Michael and All Angels Anglican Church and Eco Mamas Global Community Garden raised $1,800 and $577.50, respectively. The church’s fundraising was for its own local charities.

Charitable donations, Chamber vendor stall rentals, 49th Parallel hot dog sales, and the Chamber and Island Savings cider, hot chocolate and Chemainus Bakery gingerbread cookie kiosk brought in an additional $2,369.30 for the Harvest House Food Bank and $1,475.70 for the Cowichan Neighbourhood House.

“Thank you to all who attended the event and contributed, with a special note of thanks to the abundant generosity of local businesses D.M.A.N. Capital Inc. ($1,000 – Harvest House), RE/MAX Ocean Pointe ($1,000 – Harvest House/Cowichan Neighbourhood House), local residents Kelly-Ann Argue, Plows and Petticoats, and Darrell Dale for adding pure festive joy to the day’s events, Island Savings for sponsoring the free carriage rides for all to enjoy and the Chemainus Theatre Festival,” summed up Ballantyne.

The Chamber also extended its appreciation to the Municipality of North Cowichan for its ongoing support, especially the Bylaw and Engineering and Development Services staff, as well as the North Cowichan-Duncan RCMP for ensuring current safety measures are implemented for all market events.

“Above and beyond the extraordinary generosity and turnout experienced on Saturday, it’s always nice to hear people verbalizing their love for Chemainus,” pointed out Emily Weeks, the Chamber’s managing director. “A big reason the Chamber hosts community events is to help remind people of what this town is capable of, and the products and services available all year round, not just from our network of talented market vendors, but from our hardworking local businesses that make this town special.”

“The vendors were all happy and we had sunshine all day,” added Roy Summerhayes, a sponsor through Seniors 101 and a director of the Chamber who brought the idea of the Christmas Market to the executive.

The Christmas joy spread down the street where the Chemainus United Church conducted an Everything Christmas Sale in the basement.

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Booming business is done at the St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church bake sale tent. It was a sell-out by 2:30 p.m. Dishing out the goods and taking in the money from left are: Lisa Parnell, Pat Wimmer, Patricia Sunderland and Jodie Greis. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Booming business is done at the St. Michael & All Angels Anglican Church bake sale tent. It was a sell-out by 2:30 p.m. Dishing out the goods and taking in the money from left are: Lisa Parnell, Pat Wimmer, Patricia Sunderland and Jodie Greis. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Rob Ford’s dog Whiskey is psyched about a visit to Angela Seguin at Krazy Kritter Kookies inside the Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Rob Ford’s dog Whiskey is psyched about a visit to Angela Seguin at Krazy Kritter Kookies inside the Public Market in Chemainus. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Hanna Starkie, a 2021 Chemainus Secondary School grad, one of the vendors in the Chemainus Christmas Market. She did very well with her table, as all of vendors did, with close to a complete sell-out. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Hanna Starkie, a 2021 Chemainus Secondary School grad, one of the vendors in the Chemainus Christmas Market. She did very well with her table, as all of vendors did, with close to a complete sell-out. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Megumi Terashita-Clark with jams, preserves and more. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Megumi Terashita-Clark with jams, preserves and more. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Santa and Kelly-Ann Argue pick up some more passengers on Willow Street for the ride through town. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Santa and Kelly-Ann Argue pick up some more passengers on Willow Street for the ride through town. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Sharon Russell-Ricciardi, left, and Helen Stephen sort through children’s toys at the Chemainus United Church Everything Christmas sale. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Sharon Russell-Ricciardi, left, and Helen Stephen sort through children’s toys at the Chemainus United Church Everything Christmas sale. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Marg Merriam with items available at the Everything Christmas sale in the basement of the Chemainus United Church. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Marg Merriam with items available at the Everything Christmas sale in the basement of the Chemainus United Church. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The Chamber’s Emily Weeks and Stephanie Ballantyne with Elfs Lorraine Keen, left, and Brenda Burch checking out the items collected for Toys, Toiletries and Toques. (Photo by Rob Watson)

The Chamber’s Emily Weeks and Stephanie Ballantyne with Elfs Lorraine Keen, left, and Brenda Burch checking out the items collected for Toys, Toiletries and Toques. (Photo by Rob Watson)