A Bigger Bison
The indie craft fair doubles down on dates
Since its inception in 2007, the Royal Bison Art and Craft Fair has showcased some of the finest handmade goods Edmonton has to offer. This year it was named one of Buzzfeed’s “35 Indie Craft Fairs Every Creative Person Needs to Visit” and, due to the demand of the holiday season, the fair introduced a second weekend event that will take place this month – the first prairie-wide edition of the Royal Bison.
Vikki Wiercinski, organizer of the DIY market since 2010, jumped at the opportunity to promote more local art. “This is sort of a lucky chance we got because our venue is generally booked in December with Christmas concerts,” says Wiercinski, referring to the Old Strathcona Arts Centre, which has housed every Royal Bison to date.
While the biannual, Edmonton-exclusive Royal Bison already took place, the new addition is commencing December 5 running through to December 7. More than 40 vendors from Edmonton will set up their tables two weekends in a row, while the remaining spaces will feature artisans from across western Canada.
Wiercinski says the response from out-of-towners was great, especially on such short notice. She received hundreds of applications, most of which were from Calgary. A few came from British Columbia and Saskatchewan too. However, not all vendors who applied were accepted.
With approximately 400 applications coming in and only 80 vendor spots available, the Royal Bison curates for quality and uniqueness. A rotating selection committee of artists, crafters and retailers decide on the vendors that will create this year’s snapshot of the most interesting DIY work in Edmonton – and now, prairie-wide.
When asked if the Prairie Wide Royal Bison will become an annual occurrence, Wiercinski says if it goes well, absolutely yes. “The Royal Bison shows no signs of slowing down,” says Wiercinski. “People really like what we’ve created here and the effort we put into curating it.”