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Charles Dickens Crafts Faire kicks off the season

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The Florence Filberg Centre’s two floors will be filled with wonderful arts and crafts at the Charles Dickens Christmas Crafts Faire

November 9, 10, and 11

Friday 3pm to 8pm

Saturday 10am to 5pm

Sunday 10am to 4pm

Florence Filberg Centre, Courtenay

The Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire is the first major craft fair in the Comox Valley. This successful Faire in its 18th year has become a tradition in the Valley as shoppers have the opportunity to do their Christmas shopping early in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere filled with the sights and smells of Christmas. The Faire offers two floors of outstanding arts and crafts.

Organizers have lined up an exceptional variety of quality, handcrafted gifts made by over 60 well-known artists and crafters. As well as many sought after favourite crafters and artisans who have been with the show in previous years, shoppers will discover 21 newcomers to the Faire this year. So, the Faire is certain to have something for everyone.

For that nature lover on your list, be sure to check out the fine selection of Comox Valley scenery photography, cards, and calendars from award-winning photographers. There will be artists with their artwork, mixed media, and one-of-a-kind art cards.

Also expect to see a great variety of wood including, intarsia, turned wooden bowls, burls, candlesticks, and wooden ornaments. The show will feature a range of different beauty and bath products, soaps, lotions and organic essential oils, bath minerals and gifts of relaxation. There will be beeswax candles and honey, hand-dipped candles, stained glass, hand painted glass, and glass jewellery, decorative and functional pottery, metal art, woven baskets, as well as exquisite quilted items from the Schoolhouse Quilters Guild. Bloomfield Flats, last year's Featured Artist, will be there with their handmade cedar furniture.

And whether you are shopping for children or an avid toy collector, look forward to the Faire's selection of novelty toy art, Santas, one is six feet tall, and teddy bears. We know you can never go wrong with something practical, and so, the Faire will feature a wide range of handcrafted apparel, woven and felted, clothing for children and adults and a great selection of home décor items like table runners, aprons, tea cosies, and baby items. And for your doggie companion, you can find dog coats and accessories and handmade dog biscuits.

There will be a beautiful selection of handcrafted jewellery, sterling silver and other precious metals, opals, pearls, crystals and lampwork beads. For the avid cook, there will be cranberry preserves produced locally, flavoured vinegars, jams, jellies, gourmet specialty foods and hand-made chocolates.

We are pleased to have, as this year's Featured Artist, award-winning wildlife photographer, Steve Williamson, who will be on the stage. Williamson is an established wildlife photographer and conservationist living in British Columbia's Comox Valley. He spends a lot of his time working along the BC coast and when possible works with conservation charities in the Great Bear Rainforest & with the eco-tourism industry.

In July, 2011, his book "Encounters!: The Wonders of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest" was officially launched. It is a 100-page hardback book featuring some of the greatest shots he's taken along the B.C. Coast. In extracts from his journal and more than 130 colour photographs, readers have the chance to get a close-up look at hard-to-reach coastal areas of our province. His book can be ordered online at www.stevewphotography.ca . Or, pick up your copy by stopping by at the Charles Dickens Christmas Craft Faire this weekend, where Williamson will be signing copies of his book.

In October, Williamson became the First Place winner for the 'Wild Settings' category of the BC-SPCA Wild ARC 2012 Wildlife in Focus photography competition for his image 'Out Fishing' featuring a grizzly bear chasing salmon.

Earlier in 2012, Williamson received a runner up award at the Pearl Ellis Gallery for his photograph 'Tree Hugger' showing a young grizzly bear sandwiched between two trees and this year's Charles Dickens Christmas Faire will not only feature Tree Hugger, but will also see the launch of his 2013 portfolio, which includes many new images taken throughout 2012.You can see more at www.stevewphotography.ca

The Anderton Therapeutic Gardens Society will be selling tickets to their Christmas House Tour. You can find them in the Evergreen Seniors' Lounge on Friday from 3pm to 8pm. The Anderton Therapeutic Gardens are in their 15th year of operations and each year the volunteers improve and upgrade the gardens and the opportunities it offers to the local community. All the work is done by volunteers and even though they do get financial support from funders, it is the income from the Christmas House Tour that really enables them to finance their efforts. This is their major fundraiser. Entry to the Gardens is always free and they welcome everyone to come out and enjoy the fruits of their labour.

For more information about their fundraising efforts and the exciting Christmas House Tour, check out their website at www.gardensonanderton.org.

At the Faire this year, YANA (You Are Not Alone) will be there on Saturday and Sunday, with their Christmas crackers for sale. Sales of these Christmas crackers is now a Comox Valley tradition and has proven to be a popular fundraiser, selling out each year well before the holidays begin. To get your Christmas crackers, and your chance to win prizes, you will find the YANA volunteers in the Evergreen Seniors' Lounge from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday. As well as smaller prizes, this year's big prize is a diamond ring. The crackers will be available at the charity office and a number of local businesses. FMI visit www.yanacomoxvalley.com or call 250.871-0343

The Daily prizes offered at the Faire are two $50 gift certificates from the Atlas Cafe in Courtenay and the third daily prize is a $50 gift certificate from the Best Western Plus. In addition to these Daily prizes, you have a chance to win one of three $100 Quality Foods gift certificates. Draw tickets are free with admission.

The Faire opens Friday, Nov. 9, 3-8pm; Saturday, Nov.10, 10am to 5pm and Sunday, Nov. 11 10am to 4pm. Admission is $2, children free. Concession is in the Evergreen Seniors Lounge on the lower level. ATM machine on site.

The Florence Filberg Centre is wheelchair accessible and there is free parking. For more information, contact the organizer at 250.339-9891, email dickens.faire@gmail.com or visit the website at www.dickenschristmascraftfair.com.


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