Ahh, fall. It’s my favourite season! The air is crisp, the sunlight is warm and lazy, and the leaves put on a spectacular show of colour. Tank tops and strappy sandals are tucked away and fuzzy socks, cozy sweaters and tall boots make their way into regular rotation. Best of all, it’s the season of markets and craft shows!
I love shopping at local markets and craft shows for a few reasons. It’s a great way to spend an afternoon with your fave people while strolling through the aisles and chit chatting. It’s the perfect place to find unique handmade gifts for others (or for yourself, hehe). It’s also a great way to get my… (sorry, I’m using the C word before Halloween)…Christmas shopping done early! I don’t know about you, but I love avoiding the madness of malls and big box stores before the holidays.
Over the years, I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for shopping at markets and craft shows. I thought I’d share them with you to make your market shopping day an enjoyable experience!
1. Buy your tickets online in advance.
Some markets and craft shows will give you a discount if you buy your tickets online a few weeks before the show. Even if there’s no discount, buying your tickets online means that you can skip the ticket line and walk right in, giving yourself more time to shop.
2. Dress in light layers.
It may be chilly outside, but markets and craft shows are attended by a lot of people and it gets warm inside. Ditch the heavy winter parka and dress in a light sweater layered with a light jacket and a scarf, unless you plan on paying a little extra to coat check your parka at the door which is not always an option.
3. Come with cash in hand.
A lot of vendors offer the ability to pay with credit or debit cards but some don’t, and the last thing you want is to be filled with regret when leaving something amazing behind because you didn’t have cash. Some shows will have an ATM on location, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and come with a few (dozen) bills in your wallet. Smaller denominations like 10s and 20s will make it easier for vendors to give you change.
4. Bring a tote bag to stash your goodies in.
When you buy a little thing here and a little thing there, all of a sudden your arms are full of smaller bags that aren’t necessarily comfortable to carry. Come prepared with a tote bag that you can sling over your shoulder and tuck all of your treasures into. Bonus points if you have a stroller – those things are full of built in storage just begging to be filled with local market goods (filling the stroller with your children is optional)!
5. Be aware of your surroundings.
We’ve all been there – you see a booth from across the way and you stop dead in your tracks, spellbound and in awe at the awesomeness. The only thing with this is that there are dozens of people behind you trying to make their way through the aisle too! If you see something you like, step to the side, buy that awesomeness, and let the people behind you pass. Having patience and being polite keeps the experience happy for everyone!
6. Get to know the vendors.
The vendors at craft shows are incredibly warm and friendly people. Don’t be shy and make an effort to ask them about what they’re selling. They love what they do and wouldn’t be able to do what they love without customers like you! The products that you buy have a lot more meaning when you know how they were made and why the vendor loves to make them.
Now that you’re armed with a few tips and tricks, here is a list of 8 upcoming fall markets and craft shows in Edmonton! Mark your calendars and enjoy your shopping local experience!
September 24 | Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton
September 24-25 | Millenium Place, Sherwood Park
October 15 | The Meadows Community Recreation Centre, Edmonton
November 5-6 | Prince of Wales Armouries, Edmonton
November 24-27 | Northlands EXPO Centre, Edmonton
November 24-27 | The Enjoy Centre, St. Albert
December 1-4 | University of Alberta Butterdome, Edmonton
December 2-4 & December 9-11 | 8426 Gateway Blvd, Edmonton
PS. For a dose of more local Edmonton love, check out our list of 10 Creative Workshops in Edmonton and The Best Edmonton Restaurants to Follow on Social Media!