Ten Thousand Villages Craft Fair

For those who have never been to, or are not aware of the story behind Ten Thousand Villages, it is quite the tale. Many of our residents will have wandered through the Tumbler Ridge Public Library, tokens in hand, marveling at the wonderful craftsmanship and uniqueness of their purchases. Like any sale in today?s world, wasn?t this just a fortunate coincidence that the organizers of the Tumbler Ridge event came across some really great ethnic merchandise and wanted to bring it to our town to add flavour to the palette? Not so.

In 1946, Ten Thousand Villages was formed and began providing opportunity for fair trade for artisans in third world nations. Of course these countries are at the mercy of unemployment or underemployment and this organization helps to supplement incomes, specifically artisans and craftsmen by having the sale of their crafts reimbursed in a quick and fair manner. This process is known as ATO (alternative trading organization) and they are run by groups or organizations with no affilications to local govenrments. Ten Thousand Villages is a member of the International Fair Trade Association, (IFAT), a coalition of Third World handicraft and agricultural organizations and ATOs from both the North and the South.

So how did it come to Tumbler Ridge? When asking this question, the answer was a resounding ?Janet Hartford?. Although there was no verified date that anyone could come up with, the sale has been taking place in the library for twenty plus years. This year the sale took place on a three-day event rather than two separate sales. ?Really, there?s only one less day because the two sales took place over four days, whereas this one was over three days.?, reasons organizer Joyce Stenvall.

Some of the favourite items this year were the food items, home d├ęcor and, of course, the toy table. The toy table had many kids at it, young and old. One customer headed to the cash-out with an armload of musical paraphernalia, no doubt to appear in upcoming melodious events in town.

Among the third world locations represented were Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Peru, the West Bank and Cameroon. The items are chosen by the people at Ten Thousand Villages and sent to the requested location for the sale. Boxes arrive and are sorted by the committee in Tumbler Ridge.

A tea set from Vietnam was purchased by a local business owner and donated as the door prize for the upcoming Traditional English Christmas Tea, taking place in the library on December 7th. When you purchase your seating ticket, your name is put into the draw. The tea set is on display at the Library.

Over 1000 people came through the doors over the course of the three-day sale.