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Market draws crowd to farm

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Kirsten Pridham of Sugar Sweet Cake Company shows off eggnog and chocolate peppermint cupcakes at the Bottega Christmas Market and Art Show Saturday in East Kelowna.
Heather Eccles was expecting a weekend attendance of 2,000 people at the third annual Bottega Christmas Market and Art Show.
With the grounds crammed and vehicles lining both sides of Sallows Road in East Kelowna at noon on Saturday, the accountant/cook/bartender/dishwasher at Bottega Farm Inn laughed and said there could be 2,000 visitors by 4 p.m.
"I can't believe how busy it is so early on," Eccles said.
"We have over 50 vendors, artisans, wineries, sweets, food, local honey, teas, a kids craft room, local musicians and a very magical environment. It's a fantastic vibe.
"We have more, more, more this year. We're stretching the limits of the farm. The kids craft room was moved, and we opened up more space for vendors. Avalon tented in part of our patio so we have seating outside this year. We have more vendors in the cafeteria and in the boardroom."
It's a lot of work leading up to it, and it's a busy weekend, she admitted.
"It's exhausting, but it's very cool, so I'm always proud to be a part of it. It's definitely special, I think. We were able to take a lot out of last year, so there was a little bit less figuring out this year."
The annual event is a way to get people through the doors to see what the farm offers, but it's also about giving back to the community, said Eccles.
"We get to highlight the artists and crafters," Eccles said. "It's just an awesome community event. I don't think that we can grow any more, size-wise; it will be more refining the details."
Some of the vendors have returned year after year, she said, but there is some screening now because the farm is at its limit and to ensure there is a little bit of everything.
The farm is a combination of an event centre, a boutique hotel and retreat, Eccles explained, so there are lots of weddings, anniversaries, Christmas parties, culinary and wine-tasting events, and board meetings. The inn part has 10 hotel rooms.
"It's nice and quiet here, out of the way. It's different. It has to be what you are looking for," she said.
The Christmas market and art show continues today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 4485 Sallows Rd.
A Christmas concert featuring West Coast jazz quartet B3 Kings is at 8 p.m.

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