Last November, I visited the Ten Thousand Villages Festival for the first time. It was a nice chance to get a head start on my Christmas shopping, try out some yummy samples, and spend time with friends (tip: this is a fun event to take in with friends!). Little did I know, this festival has been a tradition in Ottawa for over 40 years and it also happens to be the largest fair-trade festival in Canada! How did I not know this?
The Ten Thousand Villages Festival takes place at the Ottawa Mennonite Church at 1830 Kilborn Avenue (in the Alta Vista area) every Friday (3:00 pm to 8:00 pm) and Saturday (10:00 am to 4:00 pm) in November (free parking!). There is also a special perk if you visit on Friday November 13th between 6:30pm – 7:30pm. When you visit on that date and in that time frame, you’ll get to experience Foodie Festival Friday. Did that grab your attention? My ears sure perked up when I first learned about it last year!
Foodie Festival Friday
A special perk for those visiting on Friday November 13th is Foodie Festival Friday. On this special Friday, you’ll get to sample delicious bites from Ottawa-area businesses and you’ll also have a chance to enter a free draw to win a beautiful gingerbread house. This year, you’ll find the following vendors taking part:
- Catherine Beddall Edible Art – Catherine Beddall is an extremely talented and award-winning Ottawa pastry chef (take a look at her website to see some of her amazing cake and gingerbread creations!). Bring your kids because she will be running a cookie-decorating station. They’ll be able to take home some sweet gingerbread treats when they are all done. Catherine is the baker behind the gingerbread house being raffled off. The house she created last year was amazing, I can’t wait to see what she’s come up with this year!
- Camino – I’m a huge fan of Camino, their baking products and hot chocolates are staples in my kitchen. Camino will be sharing samples of their fairly-traded chocolates during Foodie Festival Friday. (spoiler: you’re going to love them!)
- Zatoun – You’ll have a chance to try fairly-traded, organic olive oil and za’atar – a herb mix consisting of thyme, sumac and sesame seed. Za’atar is a common appetizer for lunch or dinner in Palestine and other countries.
- Ten Thousand Villages – Last year, I walked away from the festival with quite a few Christmas gifts for friends and family from Ten Thousand Villages. You’ll find a wide selection of handcrafted gifts such as ornaments, pottery, brass, baskets, jewellery, and more. You’ll also be able to purchase fair-trade coffee, tea, spices and other pantry staples. You really have to see all they have to offer in person, there’s something for everyone on your list! (I buy their spices regularly, you can see a picture of their cinnamon in my slow cooker applesauce recipe!)
Ten Thousand Villages is a non-profit (run by volunteers!). I love supporting them because of the opportunities they give to artisans in developing countries. By purchasing the fairly-traded products at Ten Thousand Villages, you help to support the artisans.
The festive throw pillows in the picture above were just one their items that caught my eye at last year’s festival (one of MANY items!).
Foodie Festival Friday only takes place on Friday November 13th, so don’t miss out! If you can’t make it on the 13th, not to worry, the festival will continue each Friday and Saturday for the rest of November. If you can’t make it out to the festival at all this year, you can always shop at Ten Thousand Villages’ permanent location at 371 Richmond Road in Westboro.
Food samples, cookie decorating, fairly-traded products, and an early jump on Christmas shopping—all of the reasons I’ll be at the Ten Thousand Villages Festival, hope to see you there too!