As its namesake suggests, Busy Hands a hive of pre-holiday activity

(From Left) Busy Hands co organizers Bay Woodyard and Vicki Emlaw (and the latter’s doppelganger) were all smiles at the local craft show at the Highline Hall on Saturday. The annual, two day home made (with heart) show saw a steady stream of shoppers. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)




It’s the most appropriate way to describe a local favourite amongst holiday shoppers looking to source that one-of-a-kind special gift for the Christmas season. Busy Hands was back in full swing this weekend with over 70 vendors offering their creations to the hundreds who flocked to Wellington’s Highline Hall for the two day event.

For show organizers Bay Woodyard and Vicki Emlaw who created the show many moons ago as a way for seasonal crafters and growers to have one last good round of income prior to Christmas, Busy Hands has grown from humble beginnings to a popular must on the local craft calendar.

And both Emlaw and Woodyard were revelling Saturday afternoon as the show seemed poised to achieve pre-pandemic attendance levels.

“It’s been incredible so far,” Emlaw told the Gazette. “Speaking to the vendors, we all weren’t quite sure what to expect today but it’s been really busy.”

From fashion to food, craft to creation, Busy Hands was the 2022 Prince Edward County craft show with heart as admission was through voluntary donation of goods to the Picton United and Wellington Storehouse food banks.

WHAT’S IN STORE Picton’s Bev Humphrey checks out the offerings at Dayna McIssac’s Ward 7 Provisions on Saturday afternoon. (Jason Parks/Gazette Staff)

Woodyard explained most seasonal businesses in Prince Edward County tend to slow down in the winter so this show was created as a sort of send off to have one last really good opportunity to market local hand crafted products. The last two years for a number of seasonal and small businesses in Prince Edward County have been feast or famine dependant on which part of the COVID wave was hitting when.

Woodyard said despite the in flux of tourists in 2020 and 2021, some vendors were not able to capitalize so a return of the Busy Hands show was most welcome.

“We haven’t had a show like this in a while so it’s great to see so many smiling faces and people getting really excited about what these county businesses have to offer,” Woodyard said, adding the sense camaraderie amongst vendors was strong.

Dayna McIssac was one of those vendors feeling the love on Saturday and explained her Ward 7 Provisions is a pandemic project.

McIssac has sourced a number of her goods and ingredients from Hillier. Various flavours of handcrafted, healthy and locally made flavoured granola with such tasty examples as Rhubarb Ginger, Maple Walnut, Nuts & Seeds, Chocolate Cherry and PB&J and Blueberry Scone were popular among visitors.

Along with hand made preserves, there was no shortage of eclectic offerings at Ward 7 Provision’s booth.

“I really try to have as unique products and flavours as I can because granola is granola but I look for things that are very local. For example when Vicki’s Veggies had a frost, I got all of her heirloom tomatoes so they were brined and turned into tomolives and they go awesome in a martini or on a charcuterie board with a beautiful bottle of wine,” McIssac said. “Wild grape jelly is a popular one and that comes from the wild grapes growing at my place in Hillier. The blueberries in the blueberry scone granola come from Waupoos,” she added.

Local flavours and goods for an appreciative and local market base.

“It’s been fantastic to see Busy Hands back here at Highline Hall. Vicki and Bay put on such a fantastic show and it’s so well organized and run so professionally. Having such a great cross section of makers from the County here is wonderful to see,” McIssac said.