Crafters enjoy making wreaths out of upcycled bicycle tire rims at a previous Earth Friendly Holiday Event.

Earth Friendly Holiday Event to take place Nov. 24 and 25.

An local alternative to Black Friday

With pinecones, fresh pine wreaths, upcycled bicycle rims and crafts, the Earth Friendly Holiday Event taking place Nov. 24 and 25 is a refreshing way to celebrate the Christmas season.

In an “extravaganza” of free wreath, arts and nature crafts making, the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society, Scout Island Nature Centre and the Community Arts Council of Williams Lake are hosting their seventh such event at the Central Cariboo Arts and Culture Centre.

Attendees can come away with handmade cards, clay and woven ornaments, pinecone mice, birch bark critter homes, bird feeders and recycled mobiles.

“Personally, I like that the event usually falls on Black Friday weekend, a refreshing antidote to the consumerism of the season,” says Vanessa Moberg, of the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society.

“The [Arts Council] has within it’s membership 14 member groups, many of which pitch in to the Earth Friendly Event to share their various artistic talents,” says Marg Evans, president of the Community Arts Council.

“It’s a comfortable and casual time to visit the Arts Centre and partake in one of the crafts, or view, for example, the weavers’ looms, potters’ wheels and artists’ walls, covered in samples of local work.”

Throughout the past year, volunteers have collected pinecones, birch bark and dried grasses and flowers to plan projects “that reflect a nature friendly season,” says Evans.

On the main floor, the weavers, potters and artists will be in their rooms creating ornaments and cards, while the Conservation Society will be making wreaths and door swags from fresh pine, fir and spruce boughs.

The Scout Island Nature Centre will be busy with bird crafts, and the Xat’sull crafters will be joining with beaded crafts.

“All boughs collected for the wreaths are taken from either downed trees, or a few here and there, assuring little impact to the environment. The rims used for the wreaths are reclaimed bicycle rims, which would otherwise have gone to the landfill,” says Evans.

She encourages regular participants to bring their rims from last year’s wreath to re-use and says that anyone can bring their own ribbons, dried flowers or other special items you may wish to attach.

The Community Arts Council will also be running a Giving Tree program. They’ll be collecting gently used hats, scarfs, coats, and other warm clothes which will be bagged and hung in the trees in Boitanio Park, free for those in need. People coming to the Earth Friendly event are encouraged to check their homes for little used winter wear to contribute to this bin.

“As the local Food Banks are always in need, especially over the cold holiday season, we are also providing a Food Bank Donation box outside the wreath making room,” says Evans.

“People can bring non-perishable food items or choose to donate cash, of which 100 per cent will be given to our community’s local groups who provide food and meals for those in need.”

In addition to coming out to the event, the Conservation Society is encouraging citizens to “buy local or handmade gifts and support small business this Christmas season,” says Moberg. “It’s often a much more sustainable option.”

The event will run Friday Nov. 24 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is encouraged to come, join in the fun and take a breather from the pressures of the season.

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