The Kemptville Farmers Market recently shared more than $5,000 with three local organizations.
The donations came from the market's inaugural outdoor Jack Frost Fair, which ran in late November and early December at the B&H Community Grocer parking lot, who donated the space for the fair.
Over the course of the two Sunday markets, over 500 pounds of food was donated to the local Salvation Army Food Bank and more than $1,600 was collected in the Salvation Army kettle. As well, $620 was raised from raffle gift baskets that were filled with gifts from the local vendors.
"It speaks to the generosity of the Kemptville residents," said Beth Tilbury, chairwoman of the Jack Frost Fair committee, adding that what was collected in the kettle was more than they could have expected and the committee was overwhelmed by the support for the local charities.
The Jack Frost Committee also donated $1,500 each to the Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary, a Kemptville based no-kill animal sanctuary for abused and unwanted animals, and the House of Lazarus Food Bank located just outside North Grenville in Mountain.
The donations were collected by vendors who donated to the gift baskets, which were then raffled off to customers; the proceeds from vendor table rentals within the fair also went to the local charities. Admission costs were non-perishable food items which were then donated to the local Salvation Army Food Bank.
"It was amazing," said Tilbury. "It embodied the true spirit of Christmas."
The outdoor Jack Frost Fair kicked off on Sunday, Nov. 28 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. and was followed by a second fair on Dec. 5. The two outdoor markets had bakers, crafters, food vendors, local live music, prepared take-away foods, live Christmas tree sales and more.
Previously, the Kemptville Farmers’ Market hosted an annual holiday market, called the Mistletoe Fair, which was held in the Municipal Centre but would only be able to host 20 vendors because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions.
Moving the holiday market, now renamed, outside in Kemptville, made vendor space fill up quickly, according to Tilbury.
Stacey Johnston, manager of the Kemptville Farmers Market, said the event was successful for both participation and the local vendors.
She added that especially at this time, it’s "so important" for the money to go to the local charities.
The first ever outdoor fair also gave Kemptville Farmers Market Vendors and outside vendors an opportunity to make more Christmas sales, said Tilbury, adding: "Everyone wants to do it outdoors again."
(Jessica Munro is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)
Jessica Munro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times