By April Lawrence
A joyful feeling carries throughout the buildings at Presqu’ile Provincial Park as Joyce Boucher and other volunteers celebrate the Christmas season.
Boucher, a Friends of Presqu’ile Park volunteer, has been part of the Christmas at Presqu’ile committee since the beginning. Since then the show has always been focused on presenting people with quality art and support for local artisans, said Boucher.
She got involved with the Friends because she and her husband Don Boucher wanted to be involved in the community. Since their retirement they have tried to be even more involved with the park.
They started doing more with Presqu’ile when Don became the chair of the Friends of Presqu’ile Park. Now the former chair, he is still a volunteer with the Friends.
“Love and support of the park and wanting to share it with others,” said Boucher are the reasons they are so involved.
Boucher works in the Lighthouse Interpretive Centre, which is transformed into an art gallery for the show. She said the volunteers have converted the lighthouse over so many times that it goes up quickly. The lighthouse is one of the last buildings ready for the show because the park doesn’t finish using it until after Thanksgiving.
Boucher said that the show has grown significantly since its creation and has gone from being held in a single building with only 20 artists, to three buildings with more than 100 artists.
Packages are sent out to vendors in June to inform them about Christmas at Presqu’ile. The show is juried and the jury process takes place in July for about two days depending on the number of vendors interested said Lesley Scott another volunteer, who has been involved in Christmas at Presqu’ile for 15 years. The jury consists of four to five people said Boucher.
The volunteers work in three-hour shifts through the day to keep the flow of people through the buildings steady. The volunteers can only let a certain number of people in at a time due to fire regulations said Scott.
Almost 300 volunteers with the Friends of Presqu’ile Park work together to make one of their biggest fundraisers of the year a success. Christmas at Presqu’ile usually raises between $25, 000- $30, 000 for educational programs in the park. Originally known as Christmas at the Bay, Christmas at Presqu’ile Arts and Crafts show has grown since its first season 21 years ago. The show runs the first two weekends in November every year.