5 Christmas Markets in Abbotsford

Fraser Christmas Craft Fair

Come support W.A Fraser Middle School’s Craft Fair featuring live music, local crafters, artisans and home businesses. Keep warm with the hot chocolate bar and hot apple cider. There will be a delicious bake sale and food items as well. Bring the whole family down to this free event this evening.
Date: Wednesday, November 25th 5pm – 8pm
Location: 34695 Blatchford Way, Abbotsford (Behind Abby Rec Centre)


Ten Thousand Villages Christmas Craft 

This Christmas Craft Fair features fair traded and unique handcrafted gifts, coffees, teas and foods from around the world. Coffees and teas along with special desserts will be available from Common Place Cafe for a minimum donation of $3.00. Music, throughout the evening will feature "The Pacific Children's Choir, hand bells from Mennonite Educational Institute and a harpist and guitar duo. Admission is free.
Date: Friday, November 27th 6:30pm – 10pm
Location: MCC Centre, 33933 Gladys Ave, Abbotsford


Maan Farms Christmas Market 

Join us for Maan Farms first ever Country Christmas Market. Yummy homemade fudge, hot apple cider and free wine tastings. 30+ local gift vendors/artisans, kitchen & in-store specials, entertainment and Christmas hay-wagon rides at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, & 3:30pm. A great one stop shop to cross a few names off of your Christmas list while support local businesses, and having a great time. Admission is free.
Date: Saturday, November 28th 11am – 4pmt
Location: 790 McKenzie Rd, Abbotsford


The Royal Artisan Market

Come out and support local Artisans while shopping for the holiday season. The market will take place from 9am to 4pm. A concession will be on hand. Admission is $2 per family and includes a raffle ticket for some lovely prizes! Funds raised from admission, concession and table costs will go towards building a new playground for our school.
Date: Saturday, November 28th 9am – 4pm
Location: 35410 McKee Road, Abbotsford


Christmas Market at High Street 

The Abbotsford Arts Council presents a Pop-up Artisan Market featuring over 25 artists and handmade gifts. There will be a raffle featuring one-of-a-kind items by local artists + goodies from Highstreet retailers to be won! Come enjoy free festive cider with the family. Admission by $2 donation.
Dates: December 4 – 5pm – 9pm | December 5 –11am – 7pm | December 6 – 11am – 4pm
Location: HighStreet 3122 Mount Lehman Rd, Abbotsford

For more holiday events in Abbotsford, download our Passport to Christmas E-Guide and visit our events calendar

Find your holiday spirit in the Fraser Valley

The holiday season is the perfect time to curl up by the fire, spend time with family, and partake in all that seasonal cheer. However, it’s not without its stresses, particularly when it comes to shopping. So how can you enjoy your holiday shopping without the stress?

12 years ago, a guide called the Passport to Christmas was created to help busy people in the Fraser Valley take the stress out of shopping. This year, the handy passport can be downloaded to your phone or tablet. Use the online e-guide to lead you through the local experiences that will elevate your holiday spirit! Spend this holiday season enjoying and exploring the events, entertainment, fine foods and unique shops of Abbotsford.

The hard to shop for

Here’s a list of local’s favourite stores where you can find the perfect present for that “hard to shop for” person in your life…

Glenda’s Christmas Cottage has been a partner of the Passport to Christmas since its founding. The store offers a vast selection of one-of-a-kind ornaments let you to bring the Christmas merriment home with you. Tanglebank Garden Center prides themselves on specializing in German handmade Inge Glass and Nutcracker Collectibles, also check out the many events and courses they're holding this year. Start a new Christmas tradition after with a visit to the Nutcracker Ballet, which will be held at the Abbotsford Arts Center or the West Coast Christmas Show and Market at Tradex this weekend. Still can't find that one gift? We're sure Clayburn Comforts Soap will have that memorable present.  

Hostess and Host Gifts

Open houses, company Christmas parties, family Christmas party, the list is endless. With all the parties, it is hard to keep hostess / host Gifts fresh and different. Here are a couple of options that will make you seem like a gift-giving master.

Pumpkins and cranberries are so passé. Check out Onnink’s Blueberry Farm which offers a variety of products such as Blueberry Bon Bons, Blueberry tea and Blueberry coffee, and pre made decorative baskets that will be a hit with everyone you know. Sip, savour and enjoy this Christmas season with any of Abbotsford’s local wines and beers. Local wine from Singletree Winery and Mt.Lehman Winery make for a truly distinctive Fraser Valley hostess gift. More of a beer lover? Pick up a growler from Old Abbey Ales and celebrate the season with one of their 26 different Belgium beers on tap.

For the foodie

These people can turn any evening into a culinary adventure. Their kitchen looks like it’s out of a magazine and their meals look like they should have their own show on TV. What do you buy these kitchen gurus? 

Sweet, delicious and gone too soon, nothing improves a recipe or inspires creative creation like a jar of Campbell’s Gold Honey. Wine, fudge, pies and don’t forget the jams, jellies and other preserves that are all crafted on site at Maan Farms Country Kitchen. It has a great play area for the kids while you peruse the market. Let the kids run off their excitement and energy while you browse the large selection of local products for sale. Looking for local produce and farm to table products? Take a visit to Lepp Farm Market.

When all of the hectic holiday shopping, planning and cooking is done, the last thing you want to start doing is thinking about New Years. So, Tradex is taking care of the party planning for you. Join Tradex for the Fraser Valley First Night 2016. This family-friendly New Year’s celebration will offer up fireworks, rides, entertainment and both the East / West coast countdowns. Join in the fun on December 31, doors open at 5 p.m.

Share your holiday adventures in the valley by tagging #ExploreAbbotsford on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. After you have completed the Passport to Christmas, take the survey

Get your spook on in Abbotsford

There’s no shortage of Halloween activities to participate in this year for young and old alike. Whether it’s an afternoon craft or all-night dance party, you’ll find what you’re looking for in Abbotsford.

Perfect for Children and Families

Flashlight Corn Maze and Wagon Ride - October 8-31, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
This family-friendly corn maze welcomes guests of all ages. It will take about 30 minutes to complete, depending on your sense of direction. Tips: Dress for weather and mud and don’t forget your flashlight! Bring a non-perishable food donation for the Abbotsford Food Bank and receive $1 off your admission price

Who: Families
Where: Maan Farms, 790 McKenzie Road
What: Corn maze in the dark and a moonlit wagon ride
Cost: $14 admission covers the maze and wagon ride

Halloween Skate - October 30, 6:45 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Skate in your costume and take part in the many planned activities and games. 

Who: All ages
Where: Matsqui Recreation Centre, 3106 Clearbrook Road
What: Public skating
Cost: Drop-in public skating fees apply

Fall Fair and Costume Contest - October 31, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The MSA Museum Society is hosting a free family-fun event on Saturday, October 31 at the Trethewey House Heritage Site. Tips: The costume contest takes place at 3:30 p.m. so make sure to arrive in time to show off your creativeness

Who: Families
Where: Trethewey House Heritage Site, 2313 Ware Street
What: Games for the whole family, fall crafts, annual Halloween costume contest
Cost: Free

Halloween Howl - October 31, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Enjoy tricks, treats, games, crafts, and lots of fun at this year’s Halloween hoopla. Wear your costume and have some “Howling” fun! 

Who: Families
Where: Abbotsford Recreation Centre, 2499 McMillan Road
What: Family-fun events including swimming, skating, and gym activities
Cost: $11.80 per family

Trick or Treating in Historic Downtown Abbotsford - October 31, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Abbotsford Downtown Business Association invites you to visit Historic Downtown Abbotsford for the fourth annual trick or treating event. There are lots of treats and fun activities planned for the kids this year. Tips: Drop off a non-perishable donation for the Abbotsford Food Bank to be entered to win great prizes.

Who: Families
Where: Starting point will be Valley Realty, 33787 South Fraser Way
What: Enjoy a stroll through Abbotsford’s downtown while your children trick or treat. Pay attention as you grab your loot and cast your vote for the best decorated location!
Cost: Free

Moo or Boo - October 31, 2 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Join Vicki the Cow for a family-fun afternoon featuring a spooky photo booth, costume contest, games, mad scientist laboratory, and more! Tips: There will be candy and prizes to collect as well as activities provided by community partners including BMO and The Reach Gallery

Who: Families
Where: Eco Dairy, 1356 Sumas Way
What: Family-fun activities
Cost: Kids 12 and under $3, adults free

Trick or Treat at Sevenoaks Shopping Centre - October 31, 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Enjoy a safe, warm, and dry place to bring your ghosties for goodies. Tips: Treats are available while quantities last

Who: Families
Where: Sevenoaks Shopping Centre, 201-32900 South Fraser Way
What: Look for the orange pumpkin for free candy at participating retailers
Cost: Free

Halloween Fun for Teens and Adults

Chainsaw Massacre Haunted Corn Maze - October 8-31, 8 p.m. – 10 p.m
Your mission: survive the terrifying zombie-infested corn maze. Double the size and thrill from the 2014 haunted corn maze, Leatherface and his two accomplices are making a stand, defending the last remaining piece of their territory. Be warned: nothing is what it seems when your heart is racing and are running away from hungry zombies! Tips: Dress for weather and wear close-toed shoes. 

Who: Teens and adults
Where: Maan Farms, 790 McKenzie Road
What: Haunted Corn Maze 
Cost: $18 admission covers the chainsaw massacre corn maze. Add $4 for the moonlit wagon ride. (October 29-31 Hours 8pm - 12pm). 

Halloween Fear Factor - October 30, 3 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.
Come face your fears and show off your skills in this year’s Halloween fear factor challenge. 

Who: Youth ages 11-17
Where: Abbotsford Senior Secondary School, 33355 Bevan Avenue
What: Tricks and treats served in this year’s fear factor challenge
Cost: Free

Sandpiper Sanitarium Haunted House - October 29-31, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m.
Themed as a zombie hospital, this neighbourhood-run haunted house features a scary cast of all ages ranging from Sir Bites Alot to Mr. and Mrs. Sukurblood. Tips: Donations raised from the 2015 haunted house supports Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. Subway and Tim Hortons will be on location selling cookies and coffee for charity. Twoonie raffles held nightly

Who: Although all ages are welcome, it’s recommended those ages 8+ enter the sanitarium
Where: 3037 Sandpiper Drive
What: Indoor/outdoor walk-through haunted house.
Cost: Entry by donation

Cool Runnings presents Pump Up the Jam! - October 31, 8 p.m. - late
Come bust a move to DJs Carl Sound Vibes and Blizzard. Tips: Prizes for best costume, cash bar and food.

Who: 19+
Where: Abbotsford Arts Centre, 2329 Crescent Way
What: Halloween 80s throwback dance party featuring live funk, soul, and reggae music from Soulfinger
Cost: $20

Visit Tourism Abbotsford’s event calendar for more information and other activities.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

Ring in the New Year with First Night

If you’re looking for a family-friendly event to ring in the new year, consider First Night at Fraser Valley Tradex in Abbotsford.
“Come comfortable, come to have fun,” said Tradex events manager Brad Styba. There will be an eastern and western new year’s countdown so kids of all ages can enjoy the 500-balloon drop and those who stay up till midnight can take in the firework display.
Admission gives you all-inclusive access to midway rides, live entertainment, giveaways, mini golf, rock climbing, curling and more! And if you pre-purchase your tickets you’re entered for a chance to win two tickets for every public event Tradex hosts in 2015—parking included!

Other prizes include two round-trip tickets anywhere WestJet flies in Canada, tickets to the pet lovers show, and gift cards.
First Night runs from 5 p.m. till midnight on December 31, 2014. Tickets are $10.71 each (kids four and under are free) and are available at Abbotsford and Matsqui Recreation Centres, Tradex, Tourism Abbotsford Visitor Centre and Sevenoaks Mall Customer Service Desk. Parking for this event is free.
Visit the Tradex website for more information.

Last Minute Christmas Shopping Ideas

With a few short shopping days left till Christmas don’t forget about the hidden gems on the Passport to Christmas self-guided tour.

Start by grabbing an organic espresso or holiday-themed hot beverage from Wired Monk at the Parallel Marketplace. Try a specialty Candy Cane Mocha, Eggnog Latte, or Gingerbread Macchiato to start your last-minute shopping off on the right foot.

And make sure to stop in on Friday nights from 7 p.m. till close for music nights with Jack and Cookie. The licenced bistro features an open mic and comfortable seating.

Nestled in the heart of Clayburn Village is Clayburn Comforts Soap and Body Works. The artisan, organic soap shop is open Monday, December 22 and Tuesday, December 23 before closing till February 2015.

Stop in anytime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. for natural soaps for hair, face, body, baby, hands, feet, and so much more. There are also clearance items and gift sets.

And if you’re still in need of Christmas fixings make sure to visit Lepp Farm Market. Stocked with turkeys, pork roasts and more, all Lepp meats are locally raised and processed in-house. The market also carries local and organic sides to minimize your running around.

On the corner of Clayburn Road and Highway 11 the market is open 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. and till 4 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

Visit the North Pole at the Tradex

There are still a few days left for you and your family to visit the North Pole BC’s Festival of Christmas at the Fraser Valley Tradex.

You’ll experience all things Christmas and Santa. Decorate gingerbread cookies, join Mrs. Claus for story time, learn to sing and dance like an elf and post a letter to Santa!

Upon entering the transformed Tradex I was transported to a land of iridescent snowflakes, twinkle lights and elegant scenes. I wandered the magical land in awe, my attention split between finding the items on my Christmas Scavenger Hunt and waving to friendly, singing elves.

I met a cast of interesting characters including the eccentric toy inventor Professor Hazel Nutt, the carolling elves from Ye Olde Bandstand, an Ice Princess and of course Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Although not the first year of operations for the North Pole BC it’s the first time in this location. The exhibit is bigger than ever with opportunities to purchase Christmas gifts from vendors, take photos with Santa and make stuff-your-own-animals. And if you visit on the weekend you can enjoy the Midway Rides, a new addition to the North Pole.

Just before leaving the North Pole (and returning to reality), I stopped to visit Santa. He was looking at a scroll-like paper. A young boy paused beside me and called, “Santa, is that The List?”

Santa looked up and smiled. “Yes, I’m checking it now.”

I thought it was sweet. Until Santa looked at me, closed his scroll and shook his head with a grimace.

“Would you like to see my list?”

“Santa, I don’t want to know.”

North Pole BC is the perfect place to take those special people in your life who still believe in the magic of Santa Claus. Admission to the interactive exhibit is $12.50 per person. You can pre-register online or purchase tickets at the door. Parking is $6 with $2 going to the Abbotsford Food Bank.

North Pole BC’s Festival of Christmas is part of Tourism Abbotsford’s Passport to Christmas.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

Glenda’s Christmas Cottage is a Feast for the Senses

Tourism Abbotsford’s Passport to Christmas is a great excuse to explore and discover all the unique Christmas experiences Abbotsford has to offer. The best part is when you visit participating venues and have your passport stamped you can enter to win great prizes!

One stop on the tour I’ve always meant to visit is the seasonal boutique specializing in all things Christmas, otherwise known as Glenda’s Christmas Cottage.

Just off of Mt. Lehman road sits the well-signed, well-lit Christmas village. With thousands of lights this property is a must-see after dark. For someone like me who has never visited the popular family destination take my advice: prepare your senses for Christmas overload!

I paused before entering the store to enjoy the outdoor decorations and Christmas carols. Once entering I stopped in my tracks, unsure of where to look first. The friendly shopkeepers noticed my stunned expression and guided me towards the complimentary hot spiced apple juice and candy samples. It was a good place to start. The small cottage houses an impressive assortment of decor, collectables and gift ideas.

Wandering around the shop in awe I spent quite a while taking in the selection. Although I walked around the store three times I’m quite certain I didn’t see half of it. No wonder people come back year after year, there’s always something new to discover.

Now in its 25th year, Glenda’s Christmas Cottage is proud to represent the sights and sounds of Christmas to its many, many visitors. While I was there I saw a mix of first-time and return shoppers, all seeming pleased with their special finds.

Glenda’s Christmas Cottage is one of several stops on this year’s Passport to Christmas, which runs till the end of December. Don’t forget to have your brochure stamped at participating venues—this year’s grand prize is a private dinner for 12 at Tanglebank Gardens! You need four stamps to enter. Get your brochure at participating Passport to Christmas locations or at the Tourism Abbotsford Information Centre.

Robyn Roste lives and works in Abbotsford. She loves telling stories and learning more about her city.

It’s Haunted House Time at the MSA Museum!

Haunted House Time at the MSA Museum
As the days grow shorter and the chill is in the morning air, we know Halloween isn’t fair away. Whether you’ve got little ones all excited to dress up for a school event, or older kids who spend hours creating “the perfect” costume, or you’re excited for your own spooky party – Halloween can be a fun time for everyone in the family.

My kids and I, plus grandma who’s just a big kid herself – LOVE and I mean LOVE the MSA Museum’s annual Halloween Haunted House at Trethewey House. This historic home is decorated inside and out with enough frights for everyone! The best part is they have created TWO events – depending on the age of the participants. So your little goblins can get dressed up, tour the house, enjoy snacks and have fun that won’t scare them too much between 3:00 and 5:00 pm on Friday, October 31st. For the bigger (and maybe braver) ones the tour gets scarier between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

There’s a costume contest, with prizes, so make sure you are all dressed up – that includes mom and dad (and in our case grandma!).

If you’d like to be involved behind the scenes, volunteers are also needed to greet guests, serve refreshments, dress up in costumes and help with set up and take down. If you’d like a new perspective on Halloween and want to volunteer get in touch with the Museum – info@msamuseum.ca or 604-853-0313 or you can fill out the volunteer form on their website.

If the cooler days of Fall are more your style, and you’d rather be outdoors than dressed up check out our local apple and pumpkin fields. There are so many local farms that offer not only apples and pumpkins, but hay rides, petting zoos, fresh pressed apple cider and more! Here are some of our favorites:
Taves Family Farm
Willow View Farms
Maan Farms
You can find lots more farms to visit on the Circle Farm Tour website.

The Fall is a fantastic time to live in the Fraser Valley; we watch the leaves turning and the hillsides are ablaze with colour. We can enjoy fresh apples, pumpkins and squash and have fun at great events like the MSA Museum’s Haunted House. Get out there and enjoy your community. Share your favorite Fall and Halloween activities and photos on our Facebook page – we’d love to see your adventures on the farm, Halloween costumes and delicious goodies you’ve created from local food.