Great Canadian Craft Fair's Spring Fling: fresh food, amazing art and caring for community
Great Canadian Craft's Spring Fling organizer, Mark Brown, is Vancouver's newest and perhaps only, craft fair impresario. His latest and biggest to date, the Great Canadian Craft's Spring Fling, is taking place over Mother's Day weekend on May 11th & 12th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Mark's path to craft fair-organizing-rock stardom was not part of a planned career trajectory. After completing his BComm, Mark managed restaurants and nightclubs.
He returned to Vancouver from the US last year, and while managing a nightclub, felt restless and under-stimulated. He decided to create some humourous (if a bit crude) t-shirts for Christmas and looked for a place to distribute them. He called up a local craft fair and asked, "Could I grab a table?" When they said they were sold out he asked to go on the waiting list. When they said the waiting list was completely full with over 150 names, he responded:
"You’re telling me there are 150 exhibitors who want a craft fair this Christmas?"
Mark hastily pulled together the Great Canadian Christmas Craft Fair at the Salt Building in Olympic Village. When it quickly sold out, he booked another one for the following weekend at the Croatian Cultural Centre.
It, too, sold out. After the second fair ended the vendors came to him and asked to be in his spring show too. One vendor took him aside and told him to book the spring fair over Mother's Day weekend because all the other spring fairs were in April.
He hesitated a moment, then told them it was time to go all out.
"Let's go for the glory. Let’s scale up, let’s make a living out of it, let’s have fun and go for something big -- the Convention Centre."
And Voila Spring Fling.
Organzing craft fairs is a perfect storm for Mark. It gives him the opportunity to put his business acumen to work in the service of his passion for art and good food, all while giving back to the community.
And so, this Mother's Day weekend, the convention centre will be jam- packed with 400 happy crafters all showcasing one-of-a-kind craft items. Plus the Spring Fling fair will showcase over 40 small artisan food vendors. Says Mark,
"It’s so hard to get on the shelves of Safeway or Whole Foods, but there’s so much good product out there."
Besides amazing crafts, the Spring Fling will also feature a fresh farmer's market, face painting and a scavenger hunt for kids, a men's section with men's fashion and art, door prizes and a silent auction.
As with all Mark's projects, the Spring Fling includes a charity component. The proceeds from the Spring Fling Craft Fair silent auction will benefit:
- Kate Booth House for women and their children fleeing domestic abuse
- Salvation Army Homestead programs for women recovering from addiction
- We Heart Art Project restoring fully funded art programs to public schools
- Enterprising Women Making Art self employment for women in DTES
- Deborah's Gate healing for female survivors of sexual trafficking
The first 100 visitors through the doors on both days will receive a swag bag and discount tickets are still available. Visit: http://www.greatcanadiancraft.com/tickets.php