The snow is on the ground, the gingerbread houses made, and the cookies baked. Christmas has arrived in Markerville.
The hamlet’s annual Christmas market took place Friday to Sunday. Centred around three buildings — Fensala Hall, Markerville Lutheran Church, and the Historic
Markerville Creamery Museum — the market offered visitors the chance to purchase handmade gifts. Those attending were also able to view entries in the gingerbread house contest at the church, in addition to stopping by the market’s cookie walk.
Held in a section of the Creamery Museum, the cookie walk presented dozens of baked goods from which to choose. Rows of cookies, ranging from ginger snap to chocolate chip, sat in tins and on stands. Those tempted by the selection filled up a container for $5. As long as the lid closed, they were free to take it all home.
Donna Nelson, president of the Stephan G. Stephansson Icelandic Society, which sponsors the market, said at least 1,000 dozen cookies are donated to the cookie walk every year by residents of the area, who bake them in their homes.
One woman baked 270 dozen by herself, just short of her goal of 300 dozen.
The cookie walk began when two people from the Icelandic Society started giving the cookies as gifts to market visitors. As the cookies grew in popularity, the society decided to turn them into a fundraiser.
“It’s been a major fundraiser for the society ever since,” said Nelson.
Markerville’s Christmas market began in 1984, said Nelson, who has been involved with the event for 10 years.
“I guess the event helps us meet our mission … part of our mission is to promote community fellowship … and preserve history,” said Nelson. She added that she hopes those visiting the market are exposed to some culture and have the opportunity to see friends they don’t normally spend time with. She also hopes people realize that Markerville continues to host events after summer has finished.
“We’re alive and well all year,” she said.
Attendance to the market has been steady through the years, said Nelson. It peaks Saturday and Sunday with visits from Calgary and Edmonton Icelandic clubs.
This year, the society was selling two new books at the market. One, released in June, focuses on Stephan G. Stephansson. The other was more recently released and details the history of Fensala Hall. Both books have sold well, said Nelson, especially the latter.
Jennifer Chaumont, who lives near Markerville, visited the market last Friday. Though she lives in the area, she has not attended the event in about 15 years.
“A lot of times when it’s in your community you don’t bother to go,” she said.
Chaumont decided to look around the market as she was dropping off her mother, who bakes cookies for the cookie walk every year.
She was impressed with the variety of products for sale, ranging from knitwear to tea to jewellery.
“I would probably buy something from every single little station,” she said. “Now I’ll probably come and check it out every year.”