There is a certain nostalgic charm to small-town Christmas Bazaars, and this past weekend I shopped one of the best in the state. One Saturday only, every December, a small-town high school in north-central Wisconsin opens its doors to nearly 80 vendors, filling the cafeteria and gymnasium with handmade crafts, and they've been doing this for thirty-seven years.
|handmade scroll saw wall plaque|
The building is filled with the smell of caramel popcorn and apple cider, and the isles are packed with shuffling customers, who are making laps and toting bags and trying to remember "which vendor was it?" that had that perfect gift for Grandma.
|"Nun soap" handmade at the Institute of St. Joseph|
I am a sucker for handmade crafts, knowing how much time, effort and passion goes into each item. I've been on the opposite side of that table, hawking my yarns, smiling all day, hoping to make enough money to cover the booth fee. So many vendors are older folks, who have taken their talent in a particular hobby and turned it into a viable craft to occupy their retirement years. I love talking to those vendors. They have so many years of experience, and with only a little prompting, will tell you all the how's and why's about whatever piece you're purchasing.
|handmade notebooks also from the nuns at St. Joseph's|
So I made the rounds, and went around again. I picked up business cards from several booths and promised to find them on facebook when I got back home again. My daughter begged me to buy her an early birthday present (one guess as to which craft she choose from those pictured here). I promptly ran out of cash and was thankful that a few home-grown vendors had the new-fangled technology to swipe my credit card. And I even purchased Shetland yarn from a vendor who's booth looked just like mine!
|handmade flower from pure Shetland yarns|