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PentictonNow's busy Saturday -- two markets, one crammed cruiser and a Discovery House

What do you do on a cold, rainy Saturday in early December? You tour the town. You never know what you may find.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> A pet-friendly Santa

And Saturday PentictonNow found quite a bit. We started at a "pet-friendly" holiday market, moved on to a "Last Chance" Christmas craft market, and ended up in a Salvation Army truck.

Along the way we saw a bunch of guys installing Christmas lights on their house. The house turned out to be Discovery House. More on that here.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> The Discovery House lighting team

It all began at what creator Kona Sankey calls the "First Annual Pet-Friendly Penticton Holiday Market."

A lengthy title for sure, but certainly accurate. It is, essentially, a market that's not only aimed at animal and pet lovers but encourages animal and pet owners to bring their beasties along with them.

And, FYI, it continues today.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

A bit of a pet activist, Sankey developed a Facebook page called Pet-Friendly Penticton earlier this year that points pet owners toward pet-friendly locations and services throughout the area. Then in September she held a pet expo at Gyro Park.

Now she's keeping the groove as the year winds down with this weekend's event at Orchard House Theatre at 157 Orchard Ave.

"We have about 20 vendors," she told PentictonNow Saturday afternoon. "We've had cats, birds and dogs through today and we'll have a goat as well tomorrow."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

Fifty percent of admission charges and photos with Santa (both by donation) and proceeds of a silent auction are generously headed for Fill the Food Gap Penticton.

Sankey will use the rest to run her Pet-Friendly website and she'll be on site again Sunday when her market kicks onto gear for its final day at 10 am. It'll close at 4.

A slightly more expansive market (77 vendors in all) unfolded simultaneously Saturday at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. It was Day 1 of the craft-oriented Last Chance Holiday Market and organizer Frances Callaghan looked rather happy with the results.

"It's going really good," she said. "The customer count might be down a bit, but sales are up. The vendors are doing fantastic."

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> Santa at the PTCC reiterated the good kid/bad kid thing

Before we left, Callaghan's hubby Daniel Herbert, who looks a lot like Santa even without donning a fake beard, posed for a photo and suggested children should keep up their good behavior way past the 25th.

"Hohoho," said Santa. "Hopefully kids will continue to be good. Don't be naughty, stay on track and let's have a great Christmas."

The Last Chance Holiday Market also continues Sunday, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Our last destination was the Cherry Lane Shopping Centre parking lot, where the day's "Cram the Cruiser" event -- where passers-by deposited donations of non-perishable food items and toys in an RCMP SUV perched outside the Save-On-Foods entrance -- had just come to a conclusion.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who> a smiling Cram the Crusier crew

Luckily, all the stuff that crammed the cruiser and would eventually end up at the Salvation Army Food Bank hadn’t yet been hauled away. And we listened as spokesperson and Penticton bylaw officer Travis Mills explained that it was the latest permutation of a concept that understandably disappeared during the pandemic.

"It was just the Mounties over at Superstore" he said, "then it went away with COVID. So we decided to reach out to the Mounties this year, the Fire Department, and Sherriff's Services, just to get everyone on board and get as much exposure as possible."

By the time we arrived, all donations had been transferred to a Salvation Army truck driven by community ministries director Al Madsen, who immediately told us talks are underway already for a follow-up Cram the Cruiser in December, 2023.

<who>Photo Credit: NowMedia/Gord Goble</who>

"We're helping the people in Penticton," he said. "People who are having troubles making ends meet, especially with inflation being what it is. There were people who were making it before but are having trouble now. So the working poor, they're having even more troubles."

Madsen emphasized that donations can still be made right through Christmas at Salvation Army kettles scattered across the city, at the Food Bank at 2469 South Main St., and online right here.



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