This will be my first year as a vendor at the Banff Christmas Market at the Warner Stables, and I’m busy getting everything ready. Shonna and I checked out this event last year, and it quickly became clear it would be a good fit for me and my whimsical wildlife.
When they opened applications in February, I applied for all three weekends. It’s a popular market, and they’re selective, but I’ve been living in this valley for nearly 30 years, over 20 as a cartoonist and whimsical wildlife painter, so I didn’t have to sell the local artist angle. However, that only gets me so far, as this area is filled with skilled and talented creative types.
With only one building offering power for lighting, it limited my placement options. For these reasons, I tempered my expectations but was delighted to be accepted for the first and third weekends. It means tearing my booth down after the first weekend and setting up again two weeks later, but I’m happy to pay my dues this first year and hope for all three weekends next year.
So even though the market is three weekends, the dates you see above, I won’t be there for the middle one.
I keep extensive inventory and sales records for each event, which helps me order for the next time. I did several Mountain Made Markets in Canmore for the past couple of years, which were worth it. Unfortunately, this year, the Town of Canmore limited the indoor space for vendors to the point that it seemed like an afterthought to the outdoor portion of the markets.
As I’ve mentioned before, my commitments to daily editorial cartooning and other work make it not worth investing in a tent and materials for the limited number of outdoor markets I can consider. I would have loved to be a part of an upcoming Mountain Made Market at the Canmore Rec Centre, but it conflicts with one of the Banff Christmas Market weekends.
So far this year, the only show I’ve done has been the Calgary Expo in April. As this upcoming event is new to me, I don’t know what to expect for sales, so I must play the speculation game. I’ve ordered what I think I’ll need, hoping I don’t run out while trying to avoid ordering too much, as the next opportunity to sell the stock won’t be until the Calgary Expo in April. Incidentally, early bird pricing for next year’s Expo is available until November 9th. You can buy those tickets here.
Banff and Canmore are different towns but part of the same Bow Valley community. With just a twenty-minute drive between them, many people live in one town and work in the other, and some city commutes are much longer than that.
It’ll be nice to come home each night rather than stay in a hotel, as I do for the Expo. It also means I can replenish my stock each day rather than stuff a whole three-day weekend’s worth of product into my booth at the beginning. They also have a setup day on Thursday, so there is no early morning time crunch for setup on the first day, and I can take extra time to nitpick the details.
The show has a rustic and cozy Christmas feel, with over 100 vendors. On both weekends, my booth will be in the main stable, Evergreen Hall. They also have the North Pole Pavilion and Candy Cane Lane vendor tents. There are photos with Santa, pony rides, live music, and some outdoor vendors.
You can even enjoy a fireside holiday drink at the Fire Lounge and bar. While it’s hard to find a bad view in Banff, the scenery surrounding Warner Stables is stunning, so here’s hoping for clear skies and pleasant weather.
My assigned space is a little smaller than Expo but larger than what I’ve had at the Canmore Markets. I’ve mapped out my booth setup in advance, but surprises always require on-site adjustments. I’m in a different space for the two weekends, which means some minor layout alterations but nothing complicated. I’m pleased with where they put me for both weekends.
Like Expo, this is a paid admission show, so if you plan on checking it out, you’ll have to buy tickets online in advance and choose an arrival time slot. They admit 100 guests every 20 minutes. Once you’re there, you can stay until closing, of course, but staggering the arrival times helps ensure it doesn’t get overcrowded and maintains a comfortable feel.
I’m looking forward to introducing my work to a new audience, especially since it’s been months since my last event. I’ll have my usual variety of products, including stickers, magnets, coasters, puzzles, and calendars, along with poster, canvas, and metal prints in various sizes, provided everything I’ve ordered arrives on time. Fingers crossed.
For more information, scheduling, and to buy tickets, check out the Banff Christmas Market website. I’ll be there next week from opening on Friday, November 17th to Sunday, November 19th, and again two weeks later from Friday, December 1st to Sunday, December 3rd.
Hope to see you there!