River Cree to host first-ever Indigenous holiday market in December

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River Cree Resort and Casino on Edmonton’s western edge is hosting its first-ever, thoroughly Indigenous holiday market in December.

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The free Dec. 3 to 5 event is being driven by the momentum of the wildly popular night market the venue held in mid-July.

“We had 25,000 people over the four days,” said Jayne Behm, director of marketing at River Cree. “We had great feedback (and) because it was so successful, we decided to do a holiday market in our entertainment centre.”

The market will feature handmade art, clothing and gifts from the local Enoch Cree Nation, as well as from other First Nation, Métis and Inuit creators.

Most artisans will be from Alberta, with some also from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Also on the bill is live entertainment, and Indigenous singers, dancers and drummers will share their talents, including at a pow wow showcase.

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While Behm couldn’t name specific performers because not all of the contracts have yet been finalized, she said some of the most popular artists from the night market will be playing.

Jolly Old Saint Nick will make an appearance at the market too, and attendees can pose for photos with him.

No holiday market is complete without food, and Behm said organizers are preparing for huge demand, after shoppers formed long lineups in front of the 14 food trucks at the July event.

More than 50 vendors will set up at the holiday market, such as the Alberta-based Indigenous Grill food truck, which will serve hungry shoppers Indigenous culinary items like bison stew, neck bone soup, bannock burgers, tacos and tea and berries.

Organizers expect several thousand people will come and go through the market, which will be held in River Cree’s venue space that can accommodate 2,280 people at any one time, Behm said.

The event runs from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m on Dec. 3 to 5.


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