(Photo by Tim Jaynes, Staff)
SIKESTON -- Paula McDowell remembers the first time she attended a craft fair.
"I was more or less looking for ideas," she said. "I wanted something to get myself started in, because I was bored."
Years later, she still crochets and makes other crafts to sell at craft fairs; and this weekend is helping to coordinate the Sikeston Eagles' first-ever craft fair for charity. It will include baked goods and other booths with crocheted items, quilts, handmade purses and dessert mixes in jars.
"We're always trying to find new and different ways to raise money for our charities," McDowell said. "A lot of people like those kind of items but they don't know how to do it and they don't know where to find it."
But that isn't the only upcoming fair. The Miner Nursing Center will host its annual fair this weekend, too; the First United Methodist Women's fair is set for Monday and Tuesday; and St. Denis School's eighth annual Winter Wonderland of Treasures is scheduled for Dec. 1.
Judy Scherer, coordinator of the Winter Wonderland of Treasures, said the items at such fairs are unique and good for Christmas presents. "If they didn't go to the shows, they wouldn't find anything handmade -- it's things you hardly ever find anymore," she said. "It's good, quality work, and a lot of the products will last a really long time."
Proceeds from the area fairs go toward charitable causes.
"It's the standard thing that the First United Methodist Women do to make our mission money," said Rubye Woodburn. "We work on the crafts all through the year and then in November we have our big bazaar and luncheon."
A variety of items, including baby blankets, children's items, a consignment-
type booth and homemade candies are available for sale, Woodburn said.
"And this year we're particularly stressing homemade frozen casseroles and dinners," Woodburn said. "So many women don't cook and they work and we thought that this would be a way that they could have homemade meals."
As another way to help those who work enjoy the fair, it will begin at 4 p.m. Monday for the second year.
"That way the working women can stop by and get things," said Woodburn, who added that in previous years, some complained the fair was picked over by the time they came.
The craft fair at Miner Nursing Center benefits the residents in many ways. Financially, the proceeds go into the residents' activity fund. The activity and interaction is a plus, too.
"When visitors come in, they feel like they're having company," said Mary Martin, activities director. "They visitors always acknowledge the residents and talk to them."
Residents help make the crafts, that include floral arrangements and centerpieces, quilt racks, pillows and ornaments.
"What they enjoy most, I think, is painting," said Loretta Magee, social services designee. Volunteers and Martin put the finishing touches on items.
At St. Denis, the teachers and students have taken charge of the fair this year. "The teachers decided to work it so they can have whatever they need for their classrooms," Scherer said. "It's all going for the kids in an indirect way."
That sale features several handmade items -- woodworking, jewelry, quilts, toys, embroidery and food. There are also booths with direct-sale items, such as Pampered Chef and Mary Kay products, Scherer said.
Although a lot of people come to shop, others just come for ideas a new hobby, Scherer said, agreeing with McDowell. Scherer, for instance, has shown people how to quilt and make bows.
"It's kind of a learning thing, too," she said. "The public just loves that."