Wilma Burke’s sense of humour is as sharp as her knitting skills.
“If I am alive,” she said, with a soft laugh, when asked about her participation in the 31st Annual Arisaig Christmas Bazaar.
She has been a crafter at the first 30 seasonal celebrations, offering her myriads creations – everything from socks and mittens to caps and sweaters – ones that have warmed not only plenty of bodies, but also countless hearts.
The Baileys Brook native has been knitting since she was 20, shortly after she married her late husband, Fred.
That was more than 78 years ago.
“We never had to buy anything like that for them,” the 98-year-old said of the countless clothing items knitted for her 13 children.
When they grew up and started their families, Burke never put down her knitting needles.
Grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren have also experienced the warmth – and love – from her talent.
“I love doing it and I am too old to do anything else,” she quipped, while nestled in a favourite chair in her Ardness Road living room.
Visitors to craft shows across the region have also been beneficiaries.
“I have gotten to know a lot of people,” she said of her Arisaig bazaar experience, noting (laughing) she “likes to talk.”
“I enjoy it a lot.”
Something for everyone
Burke will have plenty of chances to chat Sunday (Nov. 5), from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Arisaig Community Center on Highway 245 in Antigonish County.
While she has been knitting in the lead-up to the celebration, other vendors have been preserving pickles and jams, baking breads, sweets and other goodies – just to touch on the variety the fundraising event offers to patrons.
On that day, there will be a canteen – easily found by following the aroma of baked beans, brown bread and gingerbread cake wafting from the centre’s kitchen.
One of the most popular bazaar features is the wide variety of merchandise, available from businesses and crafters, for silent auction.
The traditional 50-50, along with hourly $20 draws, offers an opportunity at cold, hard cash.
Turkeys and lobsters are also delectable ticket prizes up for grabs.
There are also kids’ games and treat bags, not to mention a visit from Santa Claus.
And don’t forget the book table and ‘new to you’ corner.
To book tables for the Arisaig Christmas Bazaar, contact Mary MacLellan at 902-863-1101 or [email protected]