Annual Busy Hands show leads to increased sales, happy customers

Bay Woodyard and Vicki Emlaw, co creators of the annual Busy Hands Holiday gift show. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)



Busy Hands was a busy place this weekend.

The annual Prince Edward County only craft show and exhibition at the Highline Hall in Wellington was the place to to source all those locally made Christmas goodies and gifts on Saturday and Sunday.

The ‘Locals Only’ holiday craft show brought in over 70 vendors who were hoping to clear stock and sweeten the balance sheet as the doldrums of winter approach.

Busy Hands 2018. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Food products, fibre arts, woodwork, body care, jewelry, art and sewing were just some of the categories of goods available to purchase at the two day event and commerce was brisk as more than one vendor told the Gazette they needed to replenish supplies from the home studio or kitchen more than once during the selling day.

For 18 years, Vicki Emlaw and Bay Woodyard have been organizing Busy Hands and what started out as an afternoon drop in to help two small vendors of organic goods and crafts get through the Christmas season is now a two celebration of all things local and county that serves as a holiday shopping mecca.

“It’s strictly county and that’s the first rule. You have to live here,” Emlaw said with a trademark laugh. “Busy hands started in our kitchen out of necessity. We both needed money around Christmas time and we had some items to sell.”

Canned and preserved goods that Emlaw had harvested in the fall and Woodyard had honey that she had been selling at the road side stand but cold weather had effectively shut that option down.

“we decided to have an open house and it just kept getting bigger and bigger,” Woodyard said.

Young Isaiah Nyman was a the youngest vendor at the 2018 Busy Hands show and was eager to lend a hand at dad John and mom Michelle’s stall.
(Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

From a house on Morrison Pt. Road to upstairs at Books & Company to the Highline Hall at the Wellington and District Community Centre, the business of Busy Hands just gets busier and busier requiring larger venues.

One of those local businesses that were enjoy the spoils of increased foot traffic on Saturday afternoon was Amy Mumby and Adam Delorme’s Cured Spice Co.

The business creates hand milled and blended spices and mixes for seasoning all kinds of meats and vegetables as well as margarita and caesar rimmers and ship them to all corners of Canada.

Even Paradise, NL as Delorme pointed out between serving interested customers and speaking with the Gazette.

Carried in over 80 butcher shops and independent markets throughout Ontario and used to season several meat products at Ralph’s Meat Market in Picton, Cured Spice Co. Is entering its fifth year of operations and was attending it’s third straight Busy Hands.

“We love Busy Hands, it’s a great event at precisely the right time of year. And what we truly appreciate about it is that supports the local artisan community so well which supports the Prince Edward,” Delorme said. “you can shop for the entire family and friends all under one roof. The turnout has been amazing and it just gets busier every single year.”

Among those lured by the Cured Spice Co. Offerings were Belleville’s Grace Burke and Adrian Caparnter who were attending their first Busy Hands.

“There’s so many vendors here and you quickly realize there’s so much talent in Prince Edward County,” Burke said. “We live in Belleville and we haven’t been able to get to local markets over here like the Wellington market here so this is the first time seeing some of these amazing vendors.”

Burke said she found out about Busy Hands through social media and Carpenter added he was impressed with the array of holiday trappings

“It’s a great place to find Christmas gifts,” he said.