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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Christmas Gift Show benefits Kingsville-Essex Associated Band

by Kyle Reid

Essex District High School’s gymnasium was packed with vendors and shoppers during the annual Christmas Gift Show over the weekend. Patrons took the opportunity to browse unique and homemade wares in search of the perfect item for that one hard-to-shop-for friend or family member.

The Kingsville-Essex Associated Band organized the annual Christmas Gift Show, which featured 55 vendors offering a variety of goods for sale. Funds raised through booth rentals and raffles supported the Kingsville-Essex Associated Band — Canada’s longest continually running community marching band.

“It also brings people awareness about the band,” organizer Cindy Kiessling said about the fair. “We’ve had a few of the vendors even come and ask about putting their kids in the band and finding out what we’re about.”

In that tradition, the show featured several onstage musical performances from band members intermittently throughout the two-day event. Santa Claus was also on hand to pay a visit to some of the younger shoppers.

The fair featured a wide-variety of goods, from direct sales vendors, to crafty handmade goods, including jewellery, knitwear, and other knick-knacks. Shoppers perused the wares as they looked for that one unique and hard to find gift. Naturally, the band members also organized their own booth to pass along information to anyone interested.

This year, the Kingsville-Essex Associated Band celebrated its 81st birthday. Funds raised through the fair go to support the around 40 band members and the band’s project to recruit and train new members.

“We teach everyone from the ground up,” Band President Jamie Bombardier said. “This will go towards new facility rentals, new uniforms, and new music.”

Only in its second year, the show has already become one of the band’s biggest fundraisers. With the positive growth of the gift show, Kiessling said the band is eager to continue the tradition.

“We see lots of people getting their shopping done today,” she said.

For more information on the band, Kiessling and Bombardier said people can visit, whether their looking to join up or donate.

“We are a charitable organization, non-profit,” Kiessling said. “We’re always looking for donations to help out with running the program.” 


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