Holiday Artisan & Gift Expo keeps Christmas spirit alive despite COVID restrictions

·2 min read

Dale Woodard Lethbridge Herald

There were some obvious restrictions, but the Divas were still out Saturday afternoon.

The 15th annual Domesticated Divas Holiday Artisan & Gift Expo took the floor at the Lethbridge Exhibition South Pavilion.

With the Alberta government clamping down with restrictions on social and public gatherings as of Friday due to the swell of COVID-19 numbers, Domesticated Divas owner Courtney Samuels said numerous measures were taken to ensure the safety of customers and vendors at the Holiday Gift Expo edition of the event.

“We still want everybody safe, but we still need to support local as well,” said Samuels. “We are on a large scale. So our aisles are 15 feet or more apart, so that gives people lots of space and lots of room to shop. We’ve asked all vendors to have a bottle of hand sanitizer on the table so customers can always access it at every single booth.”

As well, a COVID screening check was performed at the front entrance.

“They sanitize before they do the screening and every pen is wiped down and when they leave the COVID screening they sanitize again,” said Samuels. “Everything is taken into measure.”

Draping also separated the vendors.

“Typically, it’s an open market, but with the draping we have separated the vendors,” said Samuels. “The capacity is 200, so we count people at the door and we count on the way out. But the flow of traffic has been amazing. There have been no lineups and the flow of traffic has been good.”

Samuels started Domesticated Divas 15 years ago out of her house.

“I started this out in my home with six of us and it just grew larger and larger. Most of the shows have over 100 people,” she said.

In keeping with the theme of Domesticated Divas, the Holiday Artisan & Gift Expo supports local.

“They have crafters, artisans, bakers, and we also have direct sales,” said Samuels, whose crochet skills were showcased at her booth with a selection of scarves and toques, working alongside a Canadian company from Ontario called Espe. “That’s important for any type of business, it’s local and it’s supporting small business. With the times we’re facing right now it’s really important to support the small businesses.

“There is home decor, beautiful Christmas decorations. We have pet clothes as well because there are human children and fur baby children. We have a couple of authors and books and book signings.” In keeping with the local angle, Domesticated Divas has as charity portion as well.

“We always get back to the community,” said Samuels. “It’s free to attend our shows, but we do accept donations and with that money we pick a charity every single season to give back.”

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Dale Woodard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald