Women’s Institute Craft Show and Sale attracts thousands

La Glasserie owner Asem Nada. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



A throng of thousands descended on Picton last Thursday seeking that hard-to-find and special item at the 40th annual Prince Edward District Women’s Institute Craft Show and Sale.

Over 2,500 shoppers and 160 vendors participated in the celebration of the art of craft.  The show raises important funds for several local causes, including accessible transportation and Alternatives for Women. From glass, prints and fabric to edible goods, skin care and jewellery — all hand made — there truly was something for everyone in Picton’s Huff Estates arena.

The La Glasserie stand, showcasing the work of Italian glass blower Asem Nada. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Registrar Becky de Wolde noted attendance was in line with high-water marks the show has enjoyed in the past. Exact figures are still being determined. Vendors were obviously thrilled with the steady stream of show goers passing by stalls and kiosks. Several vendors have already pre-registered for next year.

And while the craft sale continues to draw on a wellspring of local support, it’s a bullseye for visiting shoppers from Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. A tour bus from Toronto brought 40 shoppers. They capped off their day with a supper at the Waring House. This year, the show even featured a vendor from New Zealand.

“It’s amazing to see the diversity we have at our sale. Everyone I spoke with, from vendor to shopper, was really pleased with the sale this year and were grateful for the volunteers and for how well it was organized,” de Wolde said. “I’ve already had several thank-you letters. Everyone is excited to come again next year.”

One of the more popular stalls was the La Glasserie stand, showcasing the work of Italian glass blower Asem Nada. Mr. Nada said his regular customers call him “Awesome.” He’s been coming to the show for 22 years.

“We do about 10-12 shows a year but this one has always been special. We have so many return customers and I love to see their smiling faces when they come back and see me.”

Mr. Nada, who learned his craft from his grandfather in Italy over half a century ago, displayed fine Christmas ornaments, original glass refillable pens, goblets and animal figurines, all eye-catching from anywhere inside the arena.

Casey Boyce of Shiva’s Delight. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

County native Casey Boyce was also back with her Shiva’s Delight skin-care products. Now based in Kingston, Ms. Boyce’s company produces Eco-luxurious vegan skincare products. Ms. Boyce has been attending her hometown show for eight years.

“We craft skin care products that are cruelty-free certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA. We do not use any synthetic products whatsoever. They are all completely natural,” Ms. Boyce said.

“I really love the vibe and so many of my clients love coming and picking up products. I also really love the opportunity to take a break and go around to the other vendors and visit, pick up jams and other delicious, amazing stuff,” she added.

The show was born out of the desire to raise funds for an accessible rural transportation solution for Prince Edward County. “As a rural community with a lot of people living far from amenities, having accessible, low cost transportation is a requirement for all those who need assistance getting to and from appointments and regular daily routines,” said Ms. de Wolde.

The show now supports the County Access Bus. Ms. de Wolde noted the transportation initiative is one of the most important causes funded through the annual event. It also provides funding for the County libraries and the Prince Edward County Memorial Hospital.