Kris Kringle Craft Market expands to bigger venue in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Kris Kringle Craft Market has moved to Nanaimo as its organizer looks to host a larger event.

Parksville’s Kris Kringle Craft Market has moved south.

The holiday craft fair will open in Nanaimo for the first time this week to make way for a larger annual event.

According to organizer Veronica von Conruhds, Kris Kringle Craft Market outgrew it’s location and needed a new venue to host the rising number of vendors and visitors looking to join in the November festival. In previous years there has been a wait list of vendors looking to join in the event, which hosts an average 10,000 shoppers over four days.

Nanaimo offered the right opportunities to expand, she said, adding she likes the ‘huge’ population base, central location, larger venue.

The event will kick off today (Nov. 14) at the Beban Park social centre, which used to host the Nanaimo Christmas Market.

The event was cancelled indefinitely by city staff members this year because of declining table sales and attendance.

“I think global warming has affected us and we’re moving south,” said von Conruhds. “This is just a great, great opportunity to have all the Kringle family and all it’s fun and festivities become part of Nanaimo’s Christmas events.”

The market was started in Qualicum Beach two decades ago by von Conruhds, who wanted to create a family-friendly event that inspired the joy and happiness of the holiday season. In 2010, the market moved to Parksville and this year it will celebrate its 20th season in the Harbour City.

Its organizer hopes to attract a record-breaking 12,000 people to the market this season with an array of entertainers, door prizes and more than 150 crafters.

Chris Barfoot, City recreation coordinator, said city staff members are pleased to see the Kris Kringle market step in and fill any gaps that might have been left by the cancellation of Nanaimo’s own Christmas market.

The annual market had been put on by the city for more than a decade to showcase hand-made crafts, but was cancelled because of a trend in declining vendors. There was a 70-per cent drop in early table sales this year over 2012. There were also only 2,400 shoppers last year compared to about 5,000 in 2004.

The Kris Kringle event kicks off with a ribbon cutting ceremony, cake and balloons at noon. The market is open Friday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10; $8/students and seniors; free/children under 12.