Lakecity cultural touchstone and the crown jewel of craft fairs the Medieval Market returns this weekend with scores of vendors and live music.
Retired School District 27 teacher and long-time Medieval Market organizer Christie Mayall sat down with the Tribune to give an overview of this year’s market. While Mayall has since moved to Smithers, she still has come back to help run the market with her old friend Kim Nowotny, as she has for close to two decades.
A mainstay of the town of some 30 years, this year’s Medieval Market will be taking place, as usual, in Lake City Secondary’s Williams Lake Campus. On Nov. 24 and 25 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the high school will be transformed into a renaissance fair like no other, taking up the entirety of the building.
According to Mayall, the market has passed through many hands over the years, first starting as a fundraiser for the library before eventually coming under her and Nowotny’s charge. Students and teachers alike help work the market and get to decide what programs the funds go towards.
“I saw an opportunity to run it as an entire fundraiser for the school, so that’s what we’ve been doing for the last 18 years or so. High school students work at the market, they earn money for whatever program they want to put the money towards be it rugby, basketball, soccer, field trips, dry grad anything,” Mayall explained.
This model has seen great success as Mayall said when she took over the market was down to around 25 vendors, whereas for this upcoming fair they have over 90 vendors coming from all around the Cariboo and the Lower Mainland.
“It’s a really fun event, really high quality, everything you buy at the Medieval Market is handmade by the artisans who are there,” Mayall said.
“We’re super stoked about it this year.”
For highlight vendors, Mayall said Wanderlust and Faeriedust will be there doing “silkscreen printing” on clothing while selling their own handmade felt clothes. Woodworker James Steidle will also be there offering a range of fine woodworking products including some truly exquisite paddles, Mayall said.
There will also be a lot of returning favourites including chocolate, scented soaps and plenty of produce that Mayall said, “you can stock up for the winter” on. Fine artists, photographers, potters, quilters and jewellers will also be out in force, according to Mayall, with her not wanting to name anyone specific, for fear of leaving anyone out.
In addition to the great number of vendors, of which almost half are completely new to the market, there will be live music on two stages throughout the event provided by a mix of students and adult performers.
When asked why the medieval theme, Mayall confessed with a laugh she didn’t know why it had been chosen originally. When she took over she chose to simply keep the theme as it worked well.
“People really like it and they get involved. So the vendors build their booths to look like castles, they dress up in medieval clothing some will look like lords and ladies and some will look like peasants,” Mayall said.
Admission on Saturday, for the entire weekend, is $5 while on Sunday the price of admission is $3. While Mayall admits this can seem like a lot, she stresses that all proceeds go right to students so you can rest assured it’s being used for a good cause. Many people come simply to take in the music and ambience and she said that there is also a concession available.
“It’s a great time to get together with friends. We actually get about 3,500 people through the door and so you’ll run into a ton of people you haven’t seen all year, it’s just a really good time all around,” Mayall said.
While she may no longer be a resident, Mayall said over the last few years she’s seen a real push in Williams Lake to bring people together to form a community, especially in the downtown. To her, craft fairs like the Medieval Market and the others happening this weekend help do this and said that she feels that people should go out and support every one of them.
“Get out, buy local, shop local and support your friends and neighbours,” Mayall said.