The fair trade

Teacher and MAC FAIR organizer, Heather Bryce (right) and Perpetua "Pepsi" Cherubin, a grade 12 student at Immaculata High School will each be putting extra

Teacher and MAC FAIR organizer, Heather Bryce (right) and Perpetua “Pepsi” Cherubin, a grade 12 student at Immaculata will each be putting in extra time this month as they prepare for the the MAC FAIR on Dec. 2. Cherubin has been volunteering since Grade 8 because she loves the event so much.

By Meredith Newberry

Heather Bryce admittedly knows nothing about how to make a craft. But she could school anyone in how to build from scratch one of the largest craft fairs in the Ottawa Valley. Eight years ago, Bryce started ‘MAC FAIR,’ Immaculata High School’s largest fundraiser, and has since seen the fair grow and bring in thousands of handmade products, visitors and dollars.

MAC Fair raises about $6,000 in the single-day event. That money in turn is invested in food hampers for local families, school sports teams and student council activities.

Bryce didn’t have any experience putting on an event like this. It was an entirely new endeavour she had to craft through trial and error. “I couldn’t coach a sports team if I tried, but I wanted to support the school and this is how I could contribute,” said Bryce. “For me, it’s really satisfying to see how this fair has grown. I had no clue what I was doing at first, but to watch something that has become a well-oiled machine is very satisfying. It’s a continuing process, though; I’m still learning and growing.”

Old Ottawa East residents will see Immaculata students enthusiastically waving people through to the craft fair on December 2, and perhaps get the best look at what the next generation of graduates from the school are like; they are energetic, intelligent, hard-working and helpful.

“I really enjoyed volunteering for MAC FAIR because it gave me a chance to raise money for Immaculata’s activities. I helped advertise the event, and made sure people knew where and when it was taking place. I look forward to volunteering again. It’s so much fun,” said Mecca, a Grade 9 student at the school.

Bryce said a few years back the school valedictorian talked about the idea of what the school has given back to him — being responsible for your own success. She remembers that speech so well that it’s one of the things that motivates her when she is putting the craft fair together and asking for volunteers, such as Savannah Betts who volunteered for MAC FAIR for six years.

“Each year was better than the next. It’s always so much fun, a great way to meet new people and get involved with the community as well as meet local artisans and buy amazing handmade items,” said Betts, who graduated from Immaculata in 2016.

This year at MAC FAIR there will be over 130 vendors and the team expects they might again have more than 1500 visitors that day in the single day. Visitors to the fair will see baked goods, knit wear, body and bath products, home decor, jewellery and probably some big smiles from the students who volunteer there. Admission is $2.

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Filed in: Business Beat, Features, FP

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