Craft Revival underway

(Editor's note: This version corrects value of the estimated economic impact of Craft Revival to $500,000.)

THUNDER BAY, ONT. — The Waterfront district was bustling with shoppers on Sunday, who perused fine artisan work and purchased items for gifts during the annual winter Craft Revival.

More than 190 artisans were available in person at 21 businesses in the north core during the event, which continues online until Dec. 4.

Kara Pratt, executive director of Craft Revival, says more than 6,000 people attended the downtown north core last weekend to visit each business that hosted the artisans.

“You get entertained. You can have beverages at multiple locations or there are places to eat, places to sit down, lots of musicians, carolers and horse-drawn sleigh rides,” Pratt said.

Artisans were required to pay a table fee or to be included in the Craft Revival directory so that organizers could direct people to artisan sites. Pratt explained that fees taken in from artisans and business sponsorships help to cover some of the expenses such as the entertainers and horse and sleigh operators.

“We’re not-for-profit. We’re a foundation,” she said. “We give back to our artisans in various ways but our funding comes from table fees, online fees and some sponsorships from local businesses — a lot of them which are also locations (that host the artisans). We also applied for the Municipal Accommodation Tax Fund.”

Pratt estimates that the Craft Revival injects at least $500,000 into the city during the one-day, in-person event through sales from both the artisans themselves and the businesses that are hosting them.

“It’s like a snowball effect from those in-person sales,” she said. “All of these artists purchase things locally, or they go out for dinner afterward or they purchase more supplies to make more items.”

Patrons visiting the artisan sites also purchased items from the host businesses. This year, Pratt says they had an “unprecedented” number of applications for artisans wanting to participate in the revival.

“We reached out to the Delta Hotel and this year we actually took over their ballroom and ( a conference) room and filled them with artists so that we could accommodate the number of applications we received,” she pointed out.

Pratt says it was great to see so many people come out to the biannual Craft Revival. The spring Craft Revival is on tap before Mother’s Day, 2023.

Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal