‘It’s only going to get better’: spring craft market makes for popular Mount Forest event under Lions Club leadership

MOUNT FOREST – More than 400 people wound their way past over 60 vendor tables stocked with everything from rare rocks to handmade soaps at the Mount Forest and District Sports Complex on Saturday.

The spring craft market was the first hosted and organized by the Mount Forest Lions Club since the service club took over the annual event from the Mount Forest Agriculture Society.

Mount Forest resident and Lions Club member Bruce Chapman was showing off his wooden cutting boards and custom-made pet cremation boxes near the front entrance of the complex on April 22.

The retiree and handyman has been woodworking for a couple years, having gotten started after a doctor, who was completing their residency at the Louise Marshall Hospital and residing at the Chapman household, suggested he create cutting and charcuterie boards.

The boxes, the main attraction to his table, are created under his “Desman’s Landing Creations” moniker, and can be customized with a silhouette of a specific dog breed and details such as names and dates. 

“If you’re a pet owner, you get it,” he said.

First-time vendors – There were more than 60 vendors selling hand-crafted wares at the spring craft market on April 22. Joanne Bell sells hand-burned walnut boards.

He crafts his works, including benches and accept tables, from cherry, walnut and maple woods — some sourced from his backyard.

It was Joanne Bell’s first time as a vendor at the craft market, having made the trip up from Mississauga to showcase her walnut boards, sold under the name Treeline Design.

Bell began burning designs into boards less than a year ago as a stress reliever, but has since found her home and garden décor boards to be in demand at markets like this.

She has found a niche in her designs, focusing on North American animals such as black bears, and taking feedback from passersby — people prefer the bears to be awake with their eyes open, rather than having a snooze, Bell says.

Angela Plante and a man preferring only to go by “Bubba” were selling one of the more unique offerings at the market. 

Colourful saw blades ranging in diameter from five to 18 inches lined their tables, accompanying equally colourful vinyl records and tiles and drink coasters.

Plante pours different coloured paints on the blades, allowing the paint to spread around creating different patterns. Bubba mounts a photo — be it of an animal, caricature, or a sports team logo — and seals the artwork in a food-grade epoxy resin.

It’s their first time at the market selling under the name Shebear’s Creative Design.

“It’s been a good turnout too,” Bubba said.

First-time vendors – There were more than 60 vendors selling hand-crafted wares at the spring craft market on April 22. Angela Plante and Bubba sell a colourful assortment of coasters and re-purposed saw blades.

Mount Forest Lions Club first vice president Kelly Dimick was overseeing cash donations at the front entrance, encouraging patrons to grab a Lions Club-branded tote bag.

A Lions committee began organizing the market in January, with tables at $60 a pop selling out by March.

“It’s a much-needed event in the community,” Dimick remarked, adding all profits raised from entrance donations, vendor fees and food items are fully invested back into the community. 

Dimick said it was a “successful day,” noting the number of people still streaming in the front doors by late afternoon was a “statement of what we do.”

“In the future, it’s only going to get better,” remarked Lions Club and market organizing committee member Whitney Husnik. 

“It’s been nothing but amazing.”

The Lions Club will also be organizing a Christmas market, to be held on Nov. 18.