Popular craft fair at Merivale Mall hosts special Valentine’s-themed event

Craft fair sets up in the east end of the mall every Saturday
Photo: Chantal Lapierre
Melissa Falardeau holds a laser engraved sign at the Merivale mall.

The Merivale Mall hosted its weekly craft fair and introduced its one-day-only Valentine’s Day craft fair on Feb 10, where vendors brought in new crafts dedicated to the romantic holiday.

Merivale Mall, which is just east of Algonquin College, hosts a craft fair each Saturday, letting artists in the community showcase their talents. The craft fair hosted 70 vendors, one of the biggest turnouts for the fair. Not all vendors participated solely in the Valentine’s Day fair. A few who did not participate still decorated their stands with hearts and cupids.

Melissa Falardeau, who ran a stand for her company Lazer Engraving Innovations, had a new set of engravings for Valentine’s Day.

“Usually, we have just our standard engravings but wanted to spruce it up for the Valentine’s market,” Falardeau said while pointing to some Valentine’s-themed cutting boards.

While craft fairs were not anything new to the vendors, the Merivale area was a new destination for many to sell their creations. Many vendors also said the COVID-19 pandemic piqued an interest in their craft and felt encouraged to start their business.

Cristina Machado, who runs Cristina Slay Crochet, said that the pandemic really helped her business.

“I, like many other vendors, started during the pandemic,” Machado said. “A lot of help comes from my daughters and their love of Taylor Swift to inspire some of my creations,” she said pointing to her Taylor Swift Red scarf keychain.

Vanessa Beaudoin, an Indigenous jeweller and owner of Handmade by Nessy, said the pandemic allowed her to switch professions.

“I was originally a food vendor at powwows, but was unable to continue doing that through the pandemic,” she said. “I had to figure out how to still make a living, and making jewelry always interested me so I started an online store during the pandemic. This is my first craft fair at the mall and I’m very excited for the day.”

The craft fair was buzzing with people checking out the crafts and creations from each vendor.

A particularly popular craft at the fair was crochet creatures.

Machado, who was one of the vendors who featured crocheted creatures, offered a variety of crafts from jellyfish and bats to ghosts and even a crocheted Eric Cartman from the television show South Park.

“I completely did not expect so many vendors to have crochet stations, but that must have been a very popular pastime during the pandemic.” Machado said.

Another vendor, Dee’s Deco’s, also showcased crafted creatures, but made from resin.

“I am a mom of four and so having a small business is tough, especially considering I have to make the resin creatures in a separate room that the kids can’t get in to, but during the pandemic it was a way to make money,” Dee Martin, the owner of Dee’s Deco’s, said. “I do have to say I’m glad I brought a lot of them and only a few crochet items since they seem to be popular among other vendors.”

The Merivale Craft Fair runs every Saturday between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m.

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