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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Two Cowboys: Okotoks Market Square Christmas Market 2016 in Okotoks, Alberta

The Season is Here

We are all for markets in our local communities. In Okotoks, the people are too.

Andrea Wilton-Clark and her team at Okotoks Market Square found another excuse to bring together 135 vendors and thousands of people over the past weekend to prepare for Christmas in the traditional way: By shopping!

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It is shopping with a difference because it is shopping locally with artisans. These are people that make things in their barns, their basements and sometimes in their living rooms. You won't find their products in retail stores because, most of what they do costs so much to make that they simply cannot part with the little profit that is left. This is not a bad thing at all. Let me explain.

Artisans make their products with good quality, high-end materials. They engage with their customers personally. There is simply no way that you can sell something if you know it is not of quality. Your friends, your family and your community support you. That is why you, the consumer is assured of the best possible product when your local Artisan makes and sells you something. They have to face you personally and stand up for their product.

There is another difference. What you buy is often unique, one-of-a-kind items. Even if it looks similar, every item is lovingly crafted by hand and comes with something a little extra: A bit of the Producers soul.

Lastly, if it breaks and needs repair, is finished and needs refilling, or must be replaced because it simply managed to make it to its end of life, then you can always look up the master maker. The person who's hands crafted you your favourite item or product is the best person to help you get it back in working order, refilling your jar, or replacing it with the next generation hand-crafted model.

That is why we shop at our local markets. That is why we appreciate the things our Artisans made us.

I must confess. I didn't know just how lively the Artisan maker scene is in Okotoks until I started to do a bit more research about Andrea's endeavours at The Market Square.

Market Impressions 

Okotoks MarketSquare was established by Adriana Bratu and Andrea Wilton-Clark in 2010 with a vision to create regular community events and to bring better exposure to local artists, artisans and small businesses in the region.

MarketSquare's first event was a small cluster of local vendors showcasing unique products with local musicians entertaining the crowds on a grassed park area in downtown Okotoks. The events quickly grew in size and popularity. Today MarketSquare offers five major market-style indoor as well as outdoor events and works with over eight hundred locally based vendors and small businesses.

MarketSquare now offers an extensive online platform with a directory and detailed profile, information, photo galleries, and website links to local artisans and boutique small businesses.  See it here:

The online directory makes it simple to connect with vendors before as well as after events.  Andrea is also publishing articles on the site to tell the stories of our local artisans to bring continuous attention to them throughout the year! Soon you will find more videos as well courtesy of the Two Cowboys & A Camera.

We applaud her and her team. We look forward to featuring more of their events. Most importantly, we look forward to meeting more of the Artisans that make it possible for Andrea and us to do what we do and for you to get something of quality made locally.

Hendrik van Wyk
Market Cowboy

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