It takes a little more than hardship and a pandemic to get the Turner Valley Legion’s Ladies Auxiliary down.
The Ladies Auxiliary’s annual Christmas Shopping Spree Market is set to open for Nov. 21 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Legion, said Judy Cheesman, First vice-president of the auxiliary.
While past years saw between 15-20 vendors, this year’s market will feature 11 vendor stalls to comply with social distancing.
“We want to make sure all Alberta Health Services protocols are followed," said Cheesman. “It's our aim to make this event safe for the vendors and shoppers alike and to give our community a chance to come out and maybe have a little bit of normalcy.
"We are asking everybody to be aware of the physical distancing.”
The market features local artisans and craftspeople in addition to home-based businesses.
Cheesman noted great care was taken to curate a diverse selection of vendors.
She added the market event was spearheaded 10 years ago by club past-president Ida Wegelin, who passed away last January.
“We've changed it a bit over the years, but we've kept the name just to honour her,” said Cheesman.
The auxiliary, which assists the Legion in its service efforts, has been facing declining membership and fundraising opportunities in recent years, but isn’t going down without a fight, Cheesman said.
Once 150 members strong, it is down to around 50 members, but still pushing to help its community.
The club, which has fundraised over the years for the Legion’s renovations through plays, bowling tournaments, and other events, also donated the rest of their balance of funding to charities such as the Rowan House Emergency Shelter and Sheep River Health Trust, among others. The group still holds meat draws and 50/50 raffles every Friday night that are open to the public.
Patrons are asked to wear a mask if possible, but not mandated, and the event will be set up for physical distancing.
If a COVID-19 lockdown prevents the market from going ahead on Nov. 21, it will be moved to another weekend as restrictions allow.