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Beloved Craft Sale Reaches Milestone


From humble beginnings to a one-stop-shop for many Valley residents’ Christmas shopping, Calico Corners Craft Sale and Bazaar (CCCSB) has been a noticeable event in the Valley – especially to one group in particular.
Back in 1961, a group of parents in the Swan River Valley formed a group – now known as the Association for Community Living - Swan River (ACL) – to procure and create opportunities for their children with special needs.
At this time, special needs children were limited in the things tailored to them and found it difficult to find opportunities where they could flourish.
Once formed, the group began to realize that the things that they wanted for their children came with an expense and decided to create the CCCSB to help off-set some of those costs.
The first event took place in the basement of St. Andrews United Church and was the first of its kind in the area.
With tables covered in calico cloth and live entertainment scheduled throughout the day, vendors from across the Valley filled the basement with handmade gifts and goodies for others to purchase – such as knitting, crocheting, baked goods, jams and more of the kind – and proceeds were donated to ACL.
Deemed a great success from the beginning, the CCCSB began to outgrow its environment and eventually moved to the newly built Swan River Legion Hall four years later. The list of vendors began to grow and their offerings changed from household needs to creations from entrepreneurs Valley wide.
This year, the CCCSB celebrates 40 years of success in the Valley and the growth that has come to ACL all because of the event.
ACL is now so much more to the Valley than a group looking for comradery for their children with special needs. It now includes residential group homes, independent living situations, a day program, the Simply Nu2U store and employs a staff of 55 people all because of the hard work given to the many helping hands of the CCCSB and other events throughout the Valley.
This year, the CCCSB will be growing once again to include even more.
The CCCSB will return – to what is now known as the Veterans Community Hall – on Nov. 1 and will include 46 tables, featuring 34 businesses.
“We have vendors with aromatherapy, wreaths, jewelery, home decor, baking, soaps, sewing and many more attending,” said ACL Services Coordinator Carla Dixon. “We will also have our own silent auction. We’ve asked the vendors to give us a small donation towards this.”
A lunch and desserts will also be served with a 40th Anniversary display and cake, a gift card raffle and – as a throw back to their past – a day full of entertainment from local performers.
“The entertainment is being featured because that’s what they did 40 years ago,” said Dixon. “They had entertainment throughout the whole day.”
Performers at the CCCSB will include Martyn Snell and his daughter Rebecca, Ken Thompson, Jesse Genaille, George Woodley and Kolton Leslie and the Burghart girls at the end of the day.
“They will be doing half hour stints through out the day,” said Dixon.
While the event takes place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., lunch will be served from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.. The lunch will include homemade borscht and cabbage roll soups, perogies and buns, as well as, pie, muffins, fresh cinnamon buns and refreshments such as tea, coffee and juice.
There will also be special focus around 2:30 p.m. when the 40th Anniversary cake is cut in celebration.
“We’re going to decorate where the cake is going to be to look like what the tables looked like forty years ago,” said Dixon, noting that Board Chair John Christensen and Joy Wenstob – who have both been with the CCCSB since its beginning – will be in attendance for the ceremony.
“It will be a great event,” said Dixon. “While this fundraiser is a lot of work, it is bringing awareness to the community of what ACL is and who they support.”
Proceeds from the event will continue to go to ACL to enhance the lives of those within their programming.
“It will go towards opportunities for learning, equipment or technology needed or things for sensory needs,” said Dixon. “Anything to make life a little brighter for them.”
The invaluable participation and contribution to CCCSB has proven what a generous and caring community the Valley is.
“We appreciate all of the support from the community and our volunteers. So many people assist us in every way and it’s huge.
“We have no plans to stop at 40 years. This is something that we will continue to do. This year is about celebrating the women that started it because they deserve a big thank you.”

Jakki Lumax