Last year, the Christmas Fair was completely packed according to Library Director Monika Willner. (Lakes District News File photo)

Last year, the Christmas Fair was completely packed according to Library Director Monika Willner. (Lakes District News File photo)

Burns Lake Public Library craft fair to go virtual this year

Open to all vendors, not just local to Burns Lake

The Burns Lake Public Library is taking this year’s Christmas Craft Fair online, instead of completely cancelling the fair.

“The atmosphere at the Christmas Craft Fair is so special. We always have live music, we have Santa where parents can come with children and get pictures with Santa, we also have a Christmas book sale going on the side, there is concession, its very special event in the community and due to the restrictions we won’t be able to provide this atmosphere but we didn’t want to completely cancel the event which is such a huge opportunity for vendors and for the community to buy handmade products,” said Monika Willner, the library director.

The online Christmas Craft Fair, will be managed by the library staff, led by Roberta McKenzie and will be hosted on Facebook.

“So what that’s going to look like is on Facebook, each vendor will have their own photo album, and that will have their other contact information,” said McKenzie adding that each vendor will be allowed to have 20 photos in their album.

The library would also be posting vendor contact information around the town, at the library and at the post office. This would be in a business card format with each vendor having their own contact sheet.

“We are open to all crafters, not just local because it is online, but again, we have to stick with handcrafted items; obviously there are no gift cards for massages, pedicures or manicures,” said McKenzie.

The fair would have an application process with a registration fee between $20 to $30, depending on when the vendors register. However, details and the application packet itself, containing the application, the rules and a waiver, would be available early in October.

“We wanted to do this because often individual vendor pages are limited to those who have access to the internet or these social media sites. So for those who don’t have access to it and are unable to get their product out there virtually, can also sign up for the craft fair since we will be the ones uploading the photos,” said McKenzie.

The Facebook page for the fair would be launched on Nov. 1 and the cut-off for signing up as a vendor would be Dec. 1.

“This is the second largest Christmas Craft Fair in the north and that’s why it was really important for us to not cancel it. We do love our crafters, our vendors and we think it is very important to help them in these difficult times, to help them put their crafted items out somehow and many of them are not very tech-savvy and that’s why we decided to help with this kind of a virtual event,” said Willner.

The library has been putting together different ways of reaching the community virtually and offline, all through the pandemic. They initially started with the curb pick-up and drop-off for books, handed out veggie starter kits, had strict measures in place once they opened the library doors and even had their annual book sale. They are also currently undergoing renovations for their children’s library section.

“This is additional work for the staff on the top of everything else that is happening; we are really short-staffed. We will try to do our best — we are also not perfect, we are doing this for the first time, so we are also changing things as we go,” said Willner, adding that they are also planning for something special for kids for Christmas, although the ideas were still very much in the nascent stages.

“We hope the community is still supportive of our vendors. It is not just about supporting vendors but also about getting access to beautiful hand-crafted items. We just encourage them that the safe way to buy anything right now is online until we are past the pandemic. We are hoping for a big support for us and the vendors,” said Willner.

Priyanka Ketkar
Multimedia journalist

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