It’s time for the Christmas markets to begin .. time to dust off the tinsel, unpack the shiny gifts and wonderful home-made crafts and products .. and set up a stall at one of the many fairs that are advertised across the Algarve.
The Rotary Christmas Market is on this weekend – the 19th and 20th November – and promises to be one of the biggest and best this year, with over 100 stalls – so naturally we went along to have a look .. it also happens to be situated almost at the end of our road which is a bonus!
It has to be said though that the setting is anything but cheery from the outside – the Centro de Congressos do Arade in Parchal is empty for much of the year – so it is nice to see it being used.
The event is organised and run by the Rotary of Porches and this year’s charity is the LAR S. José – elderly care centre – in Ferragudo, which is a very worthwhile local charity. The Christmas Tree near the Rotary’s desk is rather impressive too:
There are so many stalls, crafts and gifts on sale – and plenty of people visiting too:
We have tried to give you a range of photographs of the event and have singled out some of the stalls for special mention – but there are so many to choose from!
It was great to see the lovely Lesley Wall there with her Beautylicousme products – with a great new packaging design but the same fab products:
There are lots of art and crafts on display including some nice watercolours by Gabriela Clark:
And our favourite piggy banks and models were on display too from Natália Estêvão – Residual Paixão Em Reciclar:
Isn’t this gorgeous?
And a quick hello to our friends at the Mediterranean Gardening Magazine:
And the local artist Gill Goode:
We were quite captivated by so many of the stalls, they were all fabulously designed and very colourful:
With so many tempting things on offer to buy:
No Christmas Fair is complete without a Santa – or three!
And there were some pretty tree decorations for sale too:
Another quick hello to the fab Fungilicious Gourmet Food guy too!
There is a nice pit stop half way round with food and drink for sale in a small café area:
And a nice surprise for us as we finally get to meet the fabulous Riz from Asiana Caterers in Almancil – she is such a lovely bubbly person .. and we can highly recommend the very yummy chicken curry and rice that we had for lunch too!
And then it was back to work! There are so many stalls to check out – you can easily spend 2-3 hours wandering around enjoying everything .. and then going back round again to spot all the things you missed the first time around!
Try not to miss the stand with the beautiful dolls houses and traditional toys .. fabulous!
There are so many things to see!
And friendly people to say hello to!
The market is divided up into different areas – it’s all indoors (except for the real Christmas trees for sale outside) – and it certainly is a bright and colourful experience:
Say hello to the lovely Patsy – it’s her first fair since moving here and she had some lovely hand-made crafts on sale .. including some colourful festive wine bottle covers (we did joke you could hide your bottles of drink away under these at Christmas!!)
And the original Happy Bird Rustic Crafts were great too – all made from reclaimed and recycled wood:
There were lots of jams, chutneys, honeys and peppers on sale:
Including some fabulous looking spicy traditional products from Malagueta Encantada
And our favourite Chilli Boy Piri Piri products were there too:
And lots more lovely gifts – we were spoiled for choice:
Including some pretty jewellery by Inge Jewel .. made with real flowers!
We loved these hand-made marionettes:
And these hand-carved pens and pencils – check out Cuscaarte on Facebook:
We met so many lovely people all of whom were so passionate about their products and gifts – and all beautifully presented too:
And a special hello to our special friend Sandie from The SoapBox with her lovely products too:
Don’t her soaps look almost good enough to eat!
We also met these lovely ladies with their Circle in a Spiral new company – and they run bracelet making workshops .. Alyson is obviously interested!
And they are clever enough to have free chocolate for passers-by too!
If it’s all too much walking around for you – you can even get an holistic foot massage at one of the stalls with Els Claes:
We really liked these products too – made by Ben and Nadrali Ceramics
And there was just time to have another look around before we had to head off .. with plenty more people arriving as we left!
The Fair is on again tomorrow Sunday from 11am to 5pm .. and here are some more shots for you to give you an idea of what is on offer!
There are lots more Christmas Fairs on across the Algarve – the Algarve Daily News site is always a great place to start to hunt out what is happening and when! Let us know if you discover any new ones that we might enjoy too!
*Postscript – on Sunday we met the organiser Claire and she let us know that they are already thinking about next year’s fair – it will be the third weekend in November – and that this year’s fair has been a great success! A date for your 2017 diaries already!