Christmas craft fair is a hit, even in October

Oct 24, 2020

The Church of the Good Shepherd’s annual Christmas craft fair looked different this year because of the pandemic, but it was no less successful, according to organizers.

Karen Clark, president of the guild — which is the church organization that hosted the Christmas craft fair — said that usually the annual fair is held indoors during the first week of December. With the pandemic, Clark said the guild decided to hold the fair outdoors while the weather was still warm enough.

She said the final decision about when to hold the craft fair was fairly last minute.

“We decided two weeks ago to do it,” Clark said. “So this is the result of two week’s of work.”

The craft fair primarily featured a variety of Christmas, Halloween and autumn-themed goods. Items sold at the fair included Christmas wreaths, handmade scarves and hats, jewelry, cloth masks and various other types of decorations and home goods.

Normally, Clark said the sale would also include baked goods, but the guild decided against offering food because of coronavirus safety concerns.

Karen Bazinet, who was working one of the tables, said this year the group that normally meets every Monday starting in April and makes crafts for the fair has been unable to meet.

“So we’ve been making a lot of this stuff in the last two weeks, getting everything together,” Bazinet said. “And we’re doing very well. I’m very pleased.”

Bazinet put together about 65-70 baskets by herself for the craft fair this year. She also made wreaths and hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

Maurice Parkonen is a fourth generation member of the Church of the Good Shepherd. He said he has been involved with the church for many years. Parkonen made hats, scarves, Christmas wreaths and some Christmas table arrangements. 

“I was a florist for 40 years, so doing all this creative stuff comes natural,” he said.

Proceeds from the craft fair go toward the church’s outreach programs, which include the takeout meals the church has continued to provide every Thursday during the pandemic. The money raised also helps support the church’s food pantry, which provides groceries including meats and vegetables on the first Tuesday of each month from 3-5 p.m. 

Clark and many of the vendors said there was good turnout for the outdoor fair.

“We thought it doesn’t seem as busy, but it’s just because of the space,” Clark said, referring to the fact that the tables were spaced apart in the church parking lot. “Everybody said considering, we’re doing pretty well.”

Rich Ellis, a customer at the fair who has been a parishioner of the church for 49 years, said he normally comes to the church events. Compared to previous events, he said the fair was small. 

“The baskets there — that’s a fraction of the number of baskets there usually are. There’s usually hundreds of them, and they all go,” Ellis said. 

He said he hopes next year things will be able to go back to normal, but he still found things to buy as he browsed at the fair.

“I bought a hat and some raffle things,” he said. “And I don’t know what else cause we haven’t wandered around the other side.”