The Clustercuss Collective Vendor (Photo supplied by Dione Wearmouth, MyPGNow.com)

The Studio Fair Marketplace is taking place at the CN Centre over the weekend.

Over 100 local craft and art vendors will be selling a wide range of products including knitwear, pottery, wood carvings, Christmas decorations, and photography prints.

The event runs from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm today (Saturday) and from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm tomorrow.

It is being held on the rink and upper concourse levels of the building.

While there is no fee to enter the marketplace, donations to the Community Arts Council and non-perishable food donations for local food banks are being accepted.

In compliance with Provincial Health protocols, all vendors and attendees must provide proof of full immunization in order to enter the venue.

Prince George local, Erin Stagg is a nationally awarded Métis painter that runs Erin Stagg Fine Art, she says this event is particularly important this year as the pandemic continues to take a toll on small businesses.

“This year, who was hit hardest was everybody local. Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, they’re doing fine. But local vendors rely on events just like Studio Fair. We do Studio Fair, the UNBC Art Fair and we don’t have UNBC this year, we didn’t have UNBC or Studio Fair last year, we don’t have craft fairs, we only have this. Many people make their whole livelihood around fairs, that’s the people that are here,” she said.

Erin Stagg at her booth (Photo supplied by Dione Wearmouth, MyPGNow.com)

Studio Fair is not only important to generate revenue for local vendors, but it is also a great way to get their name out in the community, according to Stagg.

“Basically we have the internet, but if anyone runs a Facebook Page or anything like that, they’ll know how fickle that is and how little reach we actually get. So even somebody who’s really famous and has 10,000 people on their Facebook, they may only be reaching one. Somebody who’s small like us, I have 1,000 so I might only be reaching 100 people,” she added.

Stagg says relying solely on the internet for marketing and community visibility is not ideal, and explains that having the chance to interact with customers in person, especially ahead of the Christmas season, is important to make sales.

Studio Fair Marketplace also keeps money in the community, and can be a great way for residents to stimulate the local economy, Stagg explains.

“Most vendors here even go spend money at other booths, which keeps the money circulating locally. It funds daycares and schools, it helps people put food on their tables.”

As a 4-year veteran of the Studio Fair Marketplace, she says the event is much bigger this year, especially since the venue changed as it used to be held at the Civic Centre.

Stagg is also the artist in residence at the Community Arts Council for the year, and her work can be seen on the Erin Stagg Fine Art website and on Instagram and Facebook.