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A return to buying local, handmade products at annual Kelowna spring market

The sign proudly displayed at one of the booths at the annual Craft Culture Spring Market in Kelowna said “Thank you for buying local and handmade.”

“To support local art is huge,” said Okanagan artisan Pearl Pratley, owner of a jewelry and art company called That Pearl Girl. “When you buy local, an actual person does a little happy dance. And that’s me. And it feels awesome every time someone supports that.”

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Buying local encouraged at artisan market in East Kelowna

That is exactly why Craft Culture, an Okanagan-based event planning company, is so keen on hosting this annual spring market at the Kelowna Curling Club.

“All of our stuff is handmade or hand-designed so you can really see and meet all of the vendors face to face and have a little chat and you know where your products are coming from, which is really nice,” said Craft Culture event organizer Karalyn Lockhart.

The event is all about shopping local: supporting Okanagan neighbours who handcraft one-of-a-kind items with love, care and dedication.

“This drum will probably take about a month and I love when people come and appreciate that,” said local First Nations artist Terry Thomson, who was drawing a wolf on a handmade drum. “It’s hard to part with. They’re like my little babies once I’m finished.”

Terry has been drawing all his life and those years of dedication to the craft can be witnessed first-hand by anyone strolling through the market as he demonstrates his skills.

Just like Catherine Langstaff’s quick hands, knitting a handmade shawl right there in her booth.

As the owner of Red Neck Goat Ranch, she is a big fan of the environmental benefits of shopping local.

“The very small footprint — that’s really important,” Langstaff said. “And being in your community with your neighours.”

About 4,000 people are expected to visit the Culture Craft Spring Market this weekend, now celebrating five years of helping local artisans get the word out on their products.

“When my vendors have a successful day it makes their whole month, sometimes it makes their whole year,” Lockhart said.

And if you haven’t thought about it yet, there is a special day around the corner to start planning for in May.

“Mother’s Day is coming up. So if you want to get a head start, there is probably about a thousand things in here that your mom would like,” Lockhart said. “Lots of jewelry, lots of soaps, body care, clothing. There’s a little bit for everyone.”

If you missed this spring market, Craft Culture has other mini markets throughout the year as well as the big Christmas holiday event at Prospera Place.

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