River Cree will host the very first indigenous holiday market in December

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River Cree Resort and Casino on the western edge of Edmonton hosts its first-ever, thoroughly native holiday market in December.

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The free event from December 3rd to 5th is driven by the momentum of the very popular night market that the venue held in mid-July.

“We had 25,000 people over the four days,” said Jayne Behm, director of marketing at River Cree. “We had great feedback (and) because it was so successful, we decided to do a holiday market in our entertainment center.”

The market will feature handmade arts, clothing and gifts from the local Enoch Cree Nation, as well as from other First Nations, Métis and Inuit creators.

Most artisans will be from Alberta, with some also from Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories.

Also on the bill is live entertainment, and indigenous singers, dancers and drummers will share their talent, including at a pow wow show.

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Although Behm could not name specific performers because not all contracts have yet been finalized, she said some of the most popular artists in the night market will play.

Jolly Old Saint Nick will also appear at the market, and attendees can pose for photos with him.

No holiday market is complete without food, and Behm said organizers are preparing for a huge demand after shoppers formed long lines in front of the 14 food trucks at the July event.

More than 50 vendors will set up shop at the holiday market, such as the Alberta-based Indigenous Grill food truck, which will serve hungry shoppers Indigenous cuisines such as bison stew, colostrum soup, bannock burgers, tacos and tea and berries.

Organizers expect several thousand people to come and go through the market, which will take place at the River Cree site, which can accommodate 2,280 people at a time, Behm said.

The event takes place from 12 noon to 8 pm from December 3 to 5.

bmcbride@postmedia.com

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