By Maurice Tougas
The cavernous, 13,777 sq. ft. Hangar 14 at the Alberta Aviation Museum was once used for the very serious business of war. But today’s Hangar 14 is used for peacetime activities that are a whole heck of a lot more fun. Here’s a look at some of the fairs coming to the hangar this spring.
DisEnchanted March 25, 2023
It’s safe to say that, despite the clever name, nobody going to the DisEnchanted market is, well, disenchanted.
The ‘Dis’ in DisEnchanted is a sly reference to a certain entertainment colossus that is quite protective of its name. But you get the idea.
“DisEnchanted Market is a pop culture inspired market bringing a unique experience to people of all ages, genders, and really just anyone,” says Gabrielle Dhanoo of the DisEnchanted Market.
The market has become hugely popular, with upwards of 10,000 people attending the event.
Between 100 and 120 vendors “create market exclusives that cater to the kid in all of us, from comic book characters to fairytales.
“We have curated a group of vendors that truly is inspiring, and jumps out of their comfort zone to make the market a magical scene. Themed merchandise is a great asset but not mandatory so we have things for all ages and interests.”
You might encounter themed characters – like Buzz Lightyear, Elsa and Olaf from Frozen and Jack Sparrow from the Pirates of the Caribbean series, and many others – wandering the marketplace. There will also be a display of Disney Lego from the Northern Alberta Lego Users Group.
Dhanoo says Disney pin collectors are welcome to join in pin trading ventures.
Grab bags are offered to the first 50 guests, and a charity raffle is held for the Edmonton Food Bank. Admission to the one-day event is free, but donations to the food bank are encouraged.
And of course, there is food.
“We have food trucks on site at most of the events and even local bakers who fulfill everyone’s sweet tooth!”
Spring Geeky Gift Market, April 1-2, 2023
The Geeky Gift Market is pretty much explained in its title.
“The vendors are geeky, whimsical, weird, and creative,” says co-organizer Alycia Wiens. “We have vendors ranging from plushy sellers, pride wares, to leather works, to witchy wares, to Viking wares.”
The market started online during the pandemic. By November of 2021, the first in-person market was held. Last year, 3,000 people came through the doors of Hangar 14, and a 2024 date has already been secured.
Among the 70 predominantly local vendors are those that specialize in alternative clothing, coffin shelves, original artwork, hand-sewn bags and totes, even press-on nails and hand-sculpted tumblers. Edmonton food truck The Local Lemon will also be on site.
“There is no set admission fee,” Alycia says. “We instead work with local non-profit organizations who come and take donations directly at the door. Guests can bring either monetary or physical items requested by each organization.”
The April market will be in support of the CHEW Project, which provides sexual health education to queer youth and young adults facing barriers.
“Our markets are community led, affordable, fun, and inclusive. We encourage everyone to come join us for some amazing shopping, come in street clothes or come dressed up as your favorite characters.”
Crescent Moon Curio Market April 29-30, 2023
Describing what’s available at the Crescent Moon Curio Market takes some explaining, but organizer Erika Enjeneski is confident in one thing.
“I’m proud to say that our market literally has something for everyone,” she says of the 85-90 vendors at the market.
“Our market has quite an eclectic array of items that are all handmade/homemade to give us that ‘curio’ feel,” says Erika. “You can find vendors who sell items that are witchy to Boho, crochet to macrame, dark fantasy art to anime.
“We even have a vendor who sells humanely-sourced animal/insect/snake bones art and antlers.”
For those not into the offbeat, there are also distilleries and wineries on site, and even local honey.
The first Crescent Moon market was held in 2021, during the Christmas season. Right off the bat, this market did things differently; instead of Santa, they had Krampus.
Vendors are almost all from the Edmonton area, with some from Cold Lake, Red Deer and Calgary.
The first market raised more than $2,300 for SAFE animal rescue, and this year they are asking for $1 donations at the door for the Alberta Cancer Foundation.
Erika finds quiet markets to be a “little bit cold”, so they will have a DJ to provide fun music, as well as other events. There will be “swag bags” for the first 40 kids through the door, and a draw for a mega basket with at least 50 items from vendors.
“We will for sure have something fun for all, not typically found at a market. Everyone is welcome, and as I always say, we are an ‘unCONventional meeting of like minded souls’.”
Second Chance Animal Rescue Society Spring Gift Market May 6-7, 2023
If you have a soft spot for pets in need – and really, who doesn’t? – then you should put the SCARS Society spring gift market on your calendar. Who knows, you might even walk out with a new favourite pet!
SCARS, a registered non-profit that helps communities by taking in pets that are unwanted or slated for euthanasia, depends on public donations to stay afloat, and the gift market is one of their biggest events, says Amanda Annetts of the society.
“We usually see between 2,500-3,500 people come through the doors,” Amand says, “This is a huge event for SCARS.”
More than 100 local vendors will be on site, “anything from people food, snacks, animal snacks, animal collars, children’s clothes, stained glass, candles, cups, wooden structures, signs, and much, much more.”
And while every market offers all sorts of cool stuff, the SCARS market has something very different.
“You can actually meet your forever family member at this event. We usually have 10-20 cats and about 10-20 puppies available for adoption. It’s incredible!”
The Alberta Aviation Museum rents its event hall for market fairs, public and private events, and conferences. We are booking into 2024.