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THE LOCKPORT CRAFT FAIR

After being sequestered in our home for months now, I often observe my mind wandering to seemingly safer times when Darren and I could spontaneously jump in the car….and just go.

With warmer weather upon us, the following is the story of one of those times that my mind wanders to, as a means of release from this unprecedented era in which constant hand-washing and a need to protect those close to me with immunocompromising health issues dominate.

One fine Sunday morning, I awoke expecting to get started on my to-do list. Made my tea, fed the cat and the fish, then kissed my hubby good morning (He wakes quite a bit earlier than me). Noticing the list in my hand, he said:

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– You won’t be needing that today! 

 My eyebrows elevated…

– Why not?

– We’re going on a mini road trip.

– Where are we going?

– It’s a surprise…

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We’d both been working so hard for so long, I’d forgotten that road trips and surprises were some of my favourite things about our relationship. It was just like Darren to break up all the monotony with both…on the same day.

We hopped in the car and headed in the direction that I perceived to be North-West. After three years here, my sense of direction is still not what it used to be. (And, no I don’t want to use the compass on my phone. Ha!) The green of the open countryside was magical as it sailed past the car window. As we traveled, I began to have my suspicions as to where we were headed and I was getting excited!

Aaaahhhh!! I win my bets! 

We parked along the embankment and took a slow stroll along the Red River. The water looked so inviting on this very warm day. I could see that the local wildlife had the same idea. A plethora of diverse birds wading in the gently flowing current and on the bank, bathing and staying hydrated without a care in the world.

I decided that I would share in that sentiment today. Concern for what comes next will have to wait. The important thing is to enjoy the now.

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Hand in hand, Darren and I crossed the gravel road and arrived at The Lockport Craft Fair and Market.

We were greeted by a rather talented gentleman who had created a shady spot for himsself where he could comfortably play what would become th soundtrack for our visit. 

Jen Olenick and friend at the Lockport Craft Fair

And then came the intended surprise…A visit with my friend, Jodi! The Owner and designer of Sassy N Sweet Gifts & Home Decor.

She creates some of the most creative, country-style home accessories, all with a touch of whimsy and humour. I really enjoy supporting local artisans and I’m very glad to call this one, my friend.

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There were many other expressions of talented craftsmanship in this market. Each artist demonstrating their varied skills within their own niche.

After visiting with Jodi in her booth, I wandered around and came upon some fanciful soaps in all manner of colours and fragrances. A delight for the senses, for sure!

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I met a woodworker that recreates familiar country items out of different kinds of scrap wood. Upcycling and sustainability abound in this catagory!

A lovely conversation was had with an artist who fashions jewelry out of wood beads. The degree of craftsmanship that these artists possess was clear with these pieces. Imagine the patience and control it takes to carve out each tiny space in order to highlight the center image!

Wooden amulets sold at the Lockport Craft Fair

So many brilliant artworks to look at. Unfortunately, I couldn’t document them all here in this post, although each artist highly deserves it. Of course, it wouldn’t be a market without the offerings of local farmers. This particular one presented his wares in the most delicious way! I was formulating recipes in my head, right on the spot, as I set eyes on each brimming basket of produce.

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All this walking definitely worked up our appetites, so we concluded our tour through the fair with a  respite from the heat and our hunger at the nearby eatery, Skinners.

A sign outside of Skinners Restaurant

In 1929 , Jim Skinner opened a food stand in Lockport, Manitoba, in spite of the depression economy, creating an enjoyable escape for gathering and meal sharing for generations of Manitobans. The days of hot dogs and fries for less than a quarter are long gone but the time-honoured tradition of a Sunday drive to Skinners in Lockport has earned a life-long place in the hearts of so many well-fed patrons. It makes me happy to now be one of those patrons along with my handsome lunch date.

Now, when I was a kid, there was a corner burger joint near our house that, I thought, served the best chili-cheese fries ever. I have since learned that it is necessary to separate my “evers” by region. Those were the best chili cheese fries ever….in California. The chili-cheese fries at Skinner’s are the best ever….in Manitoba. Lol

The song on the jukebox pretty much summed up what those taste like and how lovely this mini road trip has been.

On the ride home, I deeply inhaled the fragrance of the Manitoba Prairie and reveled in the unobstructed blue sky. 

A view of the Manitoba prairies

What a day this has been…
What a rare mood I’m in…
Why, it’s almost like being in love…. 

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