River Cree Resort and Casino, on the western edge of Edmonton, is hosting its first fully indigenous event. holiday market in December.
The free event on December 3-5 is being fueled by the momentum of the popular night market that took place in mid-July.
“We had 25,000 people over the four days,” said Jayne Behm, River Cree’s chief marketing officer. “We got great feedback (and) because it was so successful, we decided to do a holiday market at our entertainment center.”
The market will feature handmade art, clothing and gifts from the local Enoch Cree Nation, as well as other First Nations, Métis and Inuit creators.
Most of the artisans will be from Alberta, and some will also be from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.
Also on the lineup is live entertainment, and indigenous singers, dancers and drummers will share their talents, including at a pow wow display.
While Behm was unable to name specific artists because not all contracts have been finalized yet, he said some of the most popular artists on the night market will perform.
Jolly Old Saint Nick will also be making an appearance at the market, and attendees can pose for photos with him.
No Christmas market is complete without food, and Behm said organizers are bracing for high demand after shoppers lined up in front of 14 food trucks at the July event.
More than 50 vendors will set up shop at the Christmas market, such as the Alberta-based Ind Indian Grill food truck serving hungry shoppers Indigenous culinary items such as bison stew, neck bone soup, bannock burgers, tacos, tea and berries.
Organizers expect several thousand people to come and go for the market, which will take place in the River Cree venue space that can accommodate 2,280 people at a time, Behm said.
The event will take place from 12 pm to 8 pm on December 3-5.