Bratz bring their biz to Bizarre Bazaar

Bratz Biz children's fair joins Whistler's original artisan market

With the snow flying and the holiday season inching ever closer, it's typically the time of year that the youngsters are begging their parents for presents, not selling them.

But that's just what will happen this weekend (Nov. 24 and 25) at the town's largest artisan market, Bizarre Bazaar, which, for the first time will partner with Bratz Biz to offer unique craft creations lovingly made by local children ranging in age from six to 17 years old.

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"These kids are so full and fresh and excited about what they're doing," said local glass bead artist Linda Davies, who will be selling her "one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces made with one-of-a-kind glass beads" at the fair. "They have no compunctions about grabbing you as you're walking by and saying: 'Wanna buy a handmade towel?'"

The Bratz Biz kids will be in addition to the 100 Bizarre Bazaar vendors who were handpicked from hundreds of submissions to bring their wares to the 24th annual artisan market, presented by the Whistler Arts Council (WAC).

"Locals and visitors appreciate the authenticity of it since Bizarre Bazaar is Whistler's original artisan market," said the WAC's Patty Bloomberg, the event's organizer.

Bizarre Bazaar vendors go through an extensive jury selection process, and the products sold must be primarily handcrafted. The more than 5,000 expected attendees will be able to find the perfect Christmas gift with plenty of artisan-made ceramics, wood, glass, jewelry, clothing and more to choose from.

WAC approached Bratz Biz organizers this year to roll the 7th annual children's craft market into Bizarre Bazaar's weekend, helping to reduce some of the event's costs, which were also subsidized in part by local businesses.

"(The business community) are really behind our event and it couldn't happen without them so we really need to thank the community for that," said Bratz Biz organizer Susan Shrimpton, who hopes that she can offer more craft and sales workshops to local children throughout the year.

The entry fee for a booth at Bizarre Bazaar is $170, but thanks to local financial contributions Bratz Biz vendors had to pay only $45 for one day, or $60 for both days.

"Bizarre Bazaar a terrific community function," said Davies, who's Italian glass beads start at $2, while her original jewelry pieces combining glass with semi-precious stones will sell for as high as $250. "They really appreciate the fact that the arts council has brought together talent from the entire Sea to Sky network, and the talent is as good as anything you'll see almost anywhere in the world."

Bizarre Bazaar runs Saturday at the Whistler Conference Centre from 10 a.m to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. The weekend market will raise funds for the Whistler Children's Art Festival and will feature live music, a silent auction, children's activities and an appearance by jolly ole' Saint Nick.

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