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Conestoga River Pottery’s Phil Yordy: An Original St. Jacobs Artisan

It was 1979 when Milo Shantz, the visionary behind the redevelopment of downtown St. Jacobs, approached Conestoga River Pottery’s Phil Yordy. Recognizing Phil as a talented potter, Milo offered him an opportunity to develop a pottery studio in St. Jacobs. Fortunately for the village, the rest is history and Conestoga River Pottery has been creating high-end, handmade pottery in the village for 38 years.


 
As one of the original artisans in the Village Silos, Phil continues to make over 100 unique functional pottery items ranging from tableware to teapots. Conestoga River Pottery offers a wide variety of work in style, shape, and colour, with many different glaze finishes. Phil’s pottery is sold in complementary sets and as individual pieces. 


With the kiln, potters wheel and bisque room all onsite, you can see new unique pottery items in production all year-round. We welcome you to visit Conestoga River Pottery located in the historic silos in downtown St. Jacobs.

 

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The Silo Weavers’ Elsa Brigden Elliott: An Original Artisan

The Village of St. Jacobs has embraced the art of weaving for 37 years and Elsa Brigden Elliott is the reason why. Elsa was one of the original three weavers that started their business in The Village Silos in 1980; she continues to contribute to the variety of downtown shops as one of the original artisans remaining from that era.
 


Today she specializes in high-end textiles such as table runners, scarves and throws, unique items that are functional and yet colourfully intricate. St. Jacobs shoppers are impressed with her design expertise and the quality material with which she weaves. 

 

Elsa remains passionate about her work in part because of the expressed appreciation and conversations with shoppers supporting her craft.  She has a friendly, authentic personality, and claims she is always learning something new.
 


The Silo Weavers is an example of St. Jacobs’ commitment to the textile field and just one example of the community's support of unique local artisans and independent businesses. 

 

Elsa also plays an important role with the "Quilt & Fibre Art Festival, Waterloo Region & Beyond" held annually each May, by inviting important visiting textile artists to showcase and demo their work at her studio.
 


Sadly for St. Jacobs, Elsa will be retiring and closing her store at the end of May 2017 after a long and successful run as artist, shopkeeper, and business woman. Make sure you experience her artistry and pick up original handcrafted pieces before it's too late.

You can find The Silo Weavers in the silos of the historic flourmill adjacent to the Conestogo River.

 

 

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Experience Maple Syrup Season with Sugar Bush Tours in St. Jacobs

 

With the maple syrup season in full swing, St. Jacobs Horse Drawn Tours is busy hosting excursions to the sugar bush. 

 

On their "Sugar Bush Tour", you'll travel from St. Jacobs Farmers' Market with a guide aboard a horse-drawn trolley to a real sugar bush on a Mennonite farm to learn about maple syrup production firsthand.
 

Upon arrival at the sugar bush, visitors can take a short walking tour and see a progression of methods used to turn watery sap from maple trees into thick sweet maple syrup: first by indigenous people, then by settlers and pioneers, and finally, by those of a modern-day maple syrup producer. 

 

You'll see how sap is collected and boiled down to syrup, have the opportunity to tap a tree, or participate in old fashion log sawing. 

 

Hopefully you will have worked up an appetite because this tour also includes pancakes with fresh maple syrup made on site, and hot coffee or apple cider, served up by the woodstove in the bush's cosy former sugar shanty.
 


Need more real Ontario maple syrup products to get your fix? You can purchase fresh maple toffee on snow and other local maple syrup products.

 

But that is not everything. This family-friendly tour even has a small petting area where kids can see farm animals up close before reboarding the trolley for the return trip to Market.

 

The "Sugar Bush Tour" leaves from St. Jacobs Farmers' Market on Saturdays from March 3 - April 15, 2017, departing every half hour from 9 - 3:30. (also daily Monday - Saturday during March Break). For more details, visit www.stjacobshorsedrawntours.com
 

You can also purchase fresh local maple syrup at St. Jacobs Farmers' Market (open Thursday & Saturday all year)  or at The Farm Pantry in St. Jacobs (open daily).

 

For more things maple, visit The Maple Syrup Museum in St. Jacobs, or plan to attend the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival - billed as the world's largest annual maple syrup festival - taking place Saturday April 1, 2017.
 

 

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Massive Model Railway in St. Jacobs is one of North America's Finest

The Village of St. Jacobs may not be where you'd expect to find North America's finest O-scale model railway, but that is exactly where it is!

 

Covering around 3,000 sq. ft. of handbuilt landscape intertwined with city and rural scenes, several Canadian Pacific and Canadian National trains travel the rails with both diesel and locomotive engines, as was the case in the late 1950s.
 

Operations of the trains and their intricate travels are operated manually by skilled volunteers from the control booth overlooking the scene, and there is even a magical dusk to dawn scene in which tiny lights illuminate the buildings and coach cars as night falls.

 

Due to the intensive amount of volunteer time to run this massive model railway, show dates are typically limited to Saturday and Sundays from May - December,  plus Thursday afternoons throughout July, August, and other special show dates announced outside of that period, such as Family Day and March Break, and April 1, 2, 29, 30, 2017! 

 

OPEN Saturday & Sunday, May - December;

OPEN Thursdays 12 noon - 5 pm throughout July, August
 

For more details and ticket information click here and visit St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway's website.

 

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Valentine's Day is Sweeter in St. Jacobs

When Valentines Day visits St. Jacobs, Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen rolls out sweet holiday treats. 

 

You may have heard of Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen for their fudge or soft peanut brittle. Or perhaps you have tracked down the smell of their fresh sponge toffee as you walked into the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall to enjoy a hand-dipped ice cream cone. Regardless, if you have tasted their treats you will not forget where they came from!
 

 

The Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen has been operating as a family business for 23 years and makes their special recipes from scratch on site at their store in the St. Jacobs Outlet Mall. You may even see candy being dipped in creamy chocolate as it travels along on their chocolate conveyor belt while you order delicious artisan sandwiches, soups and salads at their food counter in the food court.
 

artisan sandwiches, hand made fudge, muffins, lunch counter


Looking for chocolate covered strawberries and other goodies for valentines day or other special occasions? Then this is your store! Each holiday comes with its own specialties so stop by the Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen for chocolate boxes of hearts, strawberries dipped in chocolate and other packaged goodies as great gift items for your special someone.
 

chocolate covered cookie wafers, lunch and supper menu


Olde Tyme Kettle Kitchen is open daily at St. Jacobs Outlets, 2nd floor. And did we mention there is always a free sample of their creamy fudge?!
 

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"Lots to Love" February SALE at St Jacobs Farmers’ Market & Flea Market!

St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market & Flea Market is jazzing up your February with a “Lots to Love” sale! Throughout Market, food and craft vendors participate with their own unique offers and specials.

Find top quality cuts of fresh meats and poultry, sausages and deli meats, cheese, farm fresh eggs, homestyle baking, mouthwatering desserts, locally-grown apples and other hardy Ontario crops, ready-to-eat foods, plus clothing, housewares, and handicrafts galore.


 

Some people love the routine and bustle of our Saturday market, while others enjoy the more laid back, quieter atmosphere of Thursday market at this time of year.  Either way, more than 200+ vendors are there to serve you this February in three distinct buildings, and you may even find a few hardy outdoor vendors too!


Stop by, chat with the farmers, growers and producers themselves, and discover all there is to love at St. Jacobs Market! Click here to see the full list of vendor specials during their "Lots to Love" February sale event.

 

St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market & Flea Market is OPEN
Thursday & Saturday all year, 7 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Plus Tuesdays in summer too, 8 a.m. – 3 p.m.

 

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Antiques and Collectibles February Sale at Market Road Antiques

February is an especially great time to visit Market Road Antiques because prices are rolled back on almost everything: antique furniture, antique glass and china, collectibles, vinyl records, estate jewelry, vintage clothing, art, books and toys!
 

antiques, market road antiques, st. jacobs
 

Each dealer within this expansive indoor antique mall can choose how deeply to discount their wares. And when they do – that discount applies to all items in their booth*! This year, expect to see discounts of up to 50% off!

 

At Market Road Antiques you’ll meet many friendly and knowledgeable staff, including people like Jeff. By age 10, Jeff had already developed a keen interest in antiques. Jeff writes:
 
“When I was young, my parents would go with me to auctions to bid for me, because auctioneers would not look at a kid bidding on items. My great uncle was a collector and I would go with him to auctions too. Things he did not want, I would get. When I was in (elementary and secondary) school I’d spend hours in the library learning as much as I could about antiques and collecting. As I got a few pieces together, I’d refinish them and send them to auction; the proceeds would fund a March Break trip to Europe”. 
 

From that early foundation Jeff built a 30-year career in antiques, working at well-regarded antiques establishments including Market Road Antiques, and is passionate about estate jewelry, furniture, folk art, china and glass.
 
So whether you’re looking for a show-stopping piece to shake up modern space, or some items to complete farmhouse rustic décor… are a do-it-yourselfer looking for a new project, or are in the market for jewelry or gifts for Valentine’s Day, make the trip to Market Road Antiques in February!

 

MRA is open every day of the year, including all holidays (except Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Years Day). Located on Weber Street next to the TSC store. 

 

*some "red dot" items excepted

 

Read More About MRA

 

Like MRA on Facebook!

 

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Annual Quilt & Fibre Art Festival Scheduled for May 23-27, 2017

You don’t have to be a quilter to enjoy the vast array of shows, exhibits and events that make this festival so vibrant and inspiring! Held during the last week of May each year in four communities across Waterloo Region, this festival celebrates the best work of quilters and fibre artists, both from the past and the present.
 


More than eight of the 2017 festival’s thirteen collective events will take place in St. Jacobs, a village of Mennonite and pioneering heritage where quilting, needlework and textiles played such an important role – for both practicality and beauty.

 

Expect to see a variety of exhibits and shows featuring everything from historic collections to the work of contemporary guest artists and guilds.  Work may be inspired by modern or traditional patterns, be handstitched or machine-quilted with free motion, feature linear or digital designs, or it may be experimental using new techniques and trends for remarkable outcomes.

In St. Jacobs - during the festival - you'll also have opportunity to attend a “trunk show”, enjoy afternoon tea, chat with an artist, watch a demonstration, sign up for a workshop, take a mystery bus excursion into the St. Jacobs countryside, or browse through a guest vendor area.

 

Consider shaping your visit into a memorable getaway and book an overnight at Homewood Suites by Hilton, St. Jacobs; take in all the shows, as well as the shops and attractions including nearby St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market.  

 

Plan to attend: Click here for 2017 FESTIVAL DETAILS  and  see the  2017 CALENDAR of EVENTS

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Make the Holidays Merry Relaxing...with Music!

A quick Google search reveals numerous studies and theories on just how much benefit and calming effect can be derived from listening to classical and choral music.

 

At this time of year, it may be tempting to think one is too busy to attend a musical concert, or perhaps it's a new genre for you. But relaxing with an hour or two of music might be just the ticket to adding some richness and rest for the soul into the season.  

 

The tradition of holding holiday and Christmas concerts is strong in St. Jacobs; a list of several is assembled below.  Visitors old and new are always welcome. You might even decide to tag on some leisurely shopping in the village, which is decked for the holidays too.

 

village of St. Jacobs at dusk with holiday lights

Saturday December 3: Twin City Harmonizers at Calvary United Church 48 Hawkesville Road, St. Jacobs, 2 p.m. Tickets $15 at the door or call 519-664-2311.

 

Sunday December 4: Vivaldi's "Gloria" with choir, soloists, and small orchestra assembled from within the community. At St. Jacobs Mennonite Church, 1310 King St. St. Jacobs during 10 a.m. service. Free will offering.

 

December 10: Mennonite Mass Choir presents Handel's Messiah, at the Centre in the Square, Kitchener.  Click here for ticket information.

 

December 11:  At the "Christmas Homecoming" concert, you'll hear the voices of The Grand Philharmonic children's, youth, and adult choirs in a variety of Christmas favourites with 200 singers on stage, the KW Orchestra, and a chance for the audience to sing along!

3 pm at Kitchener's Centre in the Square. Click here for more information.

 

Christmas Eve December 24:  All 3 churches in St. Jacobs hold services. At St. Jacobs Mennonite,  "A Township Nativity" ponders what a modern day Christmas Eve Nativity might look and sound like in the townships of South Africa. 7 p.m. Free admission.

 

St. James Lutheran Church invites you to attend a candellight  service at 7:30 pm, and Calvary United hosts their Christmas Eve service, also at 7:30 p.m.  Free admission.

 

Finally, if theatre is more your cup of tea, Cinderella: the Panto  at St. Jacobs Country Playhouse, or Red Rock Diner at St. Jacobs Schoolhouse Theatre will have you laughing in your seats and humming catchy tunes until the big day arrives. 

 

Happy, musical Holidays!

 

St. Jacobs Shops are open every day. Click here to see more.

 

 

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Making Peace with Black Friday & Holiday Preparations

Black Friday has grown in popularity in Canada over the past few years and debates about the true origins of the term "black friday" continue.  Today it is generally regarded as the start of the holiday shopping season in the USA, sometimes amid images of early morning lineups for store openings and frantic crowds. After all, who doesn't love to save some money and get a great deal ahead of the holidays!?

 

But in an increasingly fast-paced world, for many, an added sense of satisfaction comes from finding a way to incorporate the richness of past tradition into our modern living; to pay tribute to a quieter bygone time where a few simple treats - like nuts & candy and perhaps opening one or two treasured gifts with loved ones on Christmas morning - made the day special and memorable for a lifetime.

 

 

Blogs, magazines, home décor and diy websites are abuzz with ideas on how to achieve this, much of it centered on holiday décor. And within that realm, antiques and collectible items play an important role in bringing a sense of nostalgia to your home.

 

Consider how an antique piece of furniture – whether rustic or refined - or a table set with lovely antique dishes and glass can in itself pay homage to days gone by. A cedar garland strung with vintage ornaments and draped over a mantle, hutch or doorway can add dramatic flair and festive mood in an instant.

 

Or perhaps you are a do-it-yourselfer whose greatest satisfaction comes from repurposing an old item to star in your home in a fresh new way, or to give as a gift. Think wooden boxes, jugs, and jars adorned with greens and candles; bells of every description strung with ribbon; old skates, wooden sleds, skis, or an architectural element adorned to greet guests at the front door...

 

 

And even a small creative venture can be good for the soul. So take some time to browse for ideas on line or in magazines, stroll through Market Road Antiques with its more than 100 antique vendor booths, then perhaps... get out the glue gun, greens & glitter, and let visions of sugar plums and all things Christmas dance in your head as you prepare for the holidays!

 

 

  4-day BLACK FRIDAY SALE at Market Road Antiques
  Thursday November 24 - Sunday November 27, 2016
  Open daily 10 am - 6 pm, and OPEN LATE to 8 pm
  on Thursday & Friday of this event!

 

  4-day BLACK FRIDAY SALE at St. Jacobs Outlets

  (across Weber St from Market Road Antiques)
  November 24 - 27; open daily.

 

 

 

 

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