Christmas fair being held as breast cancer fundraiser in downtown St. John's

Bonnie Belec
Published on November 2, 2013
The Little Christmas Fair gets underway Sunday at 11 a.m. in the Rocket Room, upstairs in the Rocket Bakery and Fresh Foods building, on Water Street in St. John’s. — Screen grab from Linda Ryan’s/Pink Days in Bloom’s Facebook page

Linda Ryan wants everybody to start holiday shopping on Sunday and, at the same, time help create a future without breast cancer.

The  breast cancer survivor has managed to carry a summer fundraising event for the cause into the Christmas season, and she’s doing it with style.

“We’re so excited,” says Ryan. “It’s at the Rocket Bakery, upstairs, with more than 20 wonderful vendors. It’s a really nice ambiance for the Little Christmas Fair. A small, cosy setting in a room with original brickwork and wood floors in an historic property. It’s just a gorgeous setting,” she said.

“A lot of the people who have tables are very supportive of the breast cancer community and a lot of them have people who have gone through breast cancer, so it’s also a good time for everyone to get together,” said Ryan, who was diagnosed in 2010.

Old-fashioned Christmas carolling by students from the school of music at Memorial University and community choir members, as well as live harp music is on the agenda, with face-painting thrown in for the children and possibly a surprise visit from Santa.

Pink Days in Bloom fairies — Hope, Pink and Invincible — are also going to attend.

Ryan hopes it will be a magical event.

New to the fair this year is the Christmas Wreaths for the Cure fundraiser. When you order a fresh holiday wreath from The Wreath Maker — as Ryan’s longtime friend Mike Fleming is known —  through Pink Days in Bloom, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF) Atlantic Region to help fund breast cancer research and programs.

“We’ve been buying family wreaths from him for 25 years — it’s part of a family tradition,” she said. “You should see him. He has a twinkle in his eye and a mischievous smile. You’d swear he was a real elf,” Ryan said, laughing.

The wreaths are made from fresh balsam fir, decorated with berries and pinecones, and topped off with a red bow.

“It’s all about fundraising for the CBCF Atlantic Region. The vendors donate $100 for their tables, because the space is donated, and some of the vendors donate proceeds of the products sold to the cause, so it’s good for everyone,” Ryan said.

Pink Days in Bloom is a fundraiser Ryan developed based on an idea in the United States that sells a special pink hydrangea called Invincibelle Spirit which is held one day a year, with $1 from every sale going to cancer research.

Ryan started it in 2011 after she finished chemotherapy and this year it spread to 17 garden centres.

The Little Christmas Fair runs Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.