Enter, Sunday afternoon in Arisaig. The parking lots of the Arisaig Community Hall and nearby buildings are packed to the point of vehicles lining the road approaching the hall. Christmas music faintly wafts toward a passerby. Must be the Christmas bazaar.
The Arisaig Community Hall tends to be a busy place, but one time of the year it is reliably and always busy is during the annual Christmas bazaar. This year’s event was no exception, with many vendors and guests milling about throughout many tables of arrayed Christmas crafts and food, throughout the day.
One person who is always at home, amid all the busy small community Christmas commerce that takes place at Christmas bazaars, is Wilma Burke.
Burke, who hails from neighboring Pictou County, has crossed county borders to participate in the bazaar in Arisaig every year, since the first one was held, over three decades ago. As a prolific knitter, Burke also brings a lot to the table. That includes an assortment of hand-knit scarves, socks and mittens in an assortment of sizes and styles.
Burke said a sense of community is one important factor that brings her back to the Christmas bazaar every year.
“I’ve been here since it started,” Burke said. “I like meeting people, getting to know them – having a chat with them. I’ve always enjoyed it.”
Although she admits she prefers not to walk around the hall too much while she’s there, she is always impressed with what the other vendors bring to the bazaar.
And at the end of the day, she appreciates the bazaar giving her an outlet for her creativity – something in evidence, arrayed before her on the vendor’s table.
“It’s something to do – something that passes the time.”