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Wednesday, Sep. 17, 2014

Crafting the perfect gift: Local events can offer unique finds

Thursday, November 6, 2008

SIKESTON -- When it comes to gift-giving, people often try to be unique.

And several organizations around the area have just the place for people to buy holiday gifts with the upcoming craft fairs planned.

"I think people know that crafts are becoming a lost art," said Mary Martin. "They will purchase something just because it is handmade."

Martin is the activities director at Miner Nursing Center and organizing the annual craft fair, set for Friday and Saturday. Items available for purchase include ornaments, holiday wreaths and centerpieces, angels made from church hymnals and old-time sock monkeys.

"There will be a wide variety of things," said Martin.

There will also be variety at Saturday's craft fair sponsored by the Sikeston Eagles Auxiliary, according to Denise Arthur, who is organizing the event with Paula McDowell.

"It's fun to go, because you see so many homemade crafts and the vendors' talents," said Arthur. She began attending craft fairs at a friend's urging, and encourages others who have never been to try it out this weekend.

"Just come out and see the unusual items," Arthur said. Booths reserved so far include those with crochet work, hair bows, specialty food items, purses and home decor items.

Looking for something different is the reason a lot of people do frequent the fairs, said Judy Scherer. She is the organizer of St. Denis in Benton's "Winter Wonderland of Treasures" set for Dec. 6.

"A lot of them come to see something different. And some come to see if they could do it themselves," said Scherer, who also attends several fairs. "They come and do their Christmas shopping."

Shirley Warner, president of the First United Methodist Women's Group, which will host a bazaar Monday and Tuesday, agreed. She said what people are looking for varies from year to year, but the bazaar offers a little something of everything.

"We've got a candy booth, a gourmet food booth and some crafts," she said.

The gourmet foods, which include homemade casseroles to be cooked later or can also be frozen, pies and bread, is a big hit, according to Warner.

"It's not the same thing you can buy in stores," she said. "And the food and candy, obviously, are all homemade."

The bazaar also includes a luncheon on Tuesday, with different types of soup and salad people can choose from, in addition to drinks and desserts. Take-outs are offered, too.

"We take orders from a lot of the teachers at the school and some of the businesses," said Warner, adding the luncheon is one of the bazaar's biggest attractions.

Food also reels in people at St. Denis' sale.

"I would say 30 to 40 percent of people come for the food," said Scherer. Other items available include direct sale such as Home Interiors and Avon, crafts including Christmas floral and crocheted items and foods, including concessions and specialty food items.

With the current economic situation, Scherer said she has heard that some crafters aren't doing as well this year -- and past buyers are concerned that the prices may be too high for their budgets.

"But a lot of times, you can get a really good deal on a handmade item and it's cheaper than what you would pay if you went somewhere else and bought it," said Scherer. "Our show is in December and the last show for a lot of vendors, so a lot of them mark down their merchandise."

Arthur said that's a concern of some with the Eagles, too. "But we're hoping people will come out to support the individuals," she said.

"A lot of people who come to the fairs would prefer to purchase from the individuals," added Martin.

And more than looking for good deals or to support the crafters, some people come to the sales out of tradition, or to visit with one another.

"It's our ninth year, so it's become a social, community thing by now," said Scherer. "We have people who say 'I hope you never stop doing it.'"

And with the success and growth, Scherer said that likely wont' happen -- at least not soon. "We have vendors from southeast Missouri and a few from out of state," said Scherer. "And the more years you do it, the bigger it's going to get."