The area craft shows this weekend are a family affair -- for buyers and sellers alike.
"We look forward to it every year," said Karen Lacewell of Cape Girardeau.
She and her daughter, Kerry, began shopping Friday night at the Bavarian Halle in Fruitland. On Saturday, they arrived at the Osage Community Centre as soon as it opened. Around noon, they left with a polished wooden rocking horse with a cotton mane.
Lacewell said she came looking for a wooden gift for her granddaughter and felt satisfied that when her granddaughter grows up the piece will still be perfect, for decoration.
Bavarian Halle vendor Barbara Hurst of Jackson has been selling ornamental sweat shirts with sparkly studs, crystals and quilting for 15 years. But it's not just her.
"The grandkids have helped over the years and just recently my son made displays out of PVC pipe," she said.
Her daughter-in-law sells crocheted items and helps by wearing the shirts. Friday night they had a run on red Christmas tree shirts and had to go home to make 10 more.
"I think it was the way the lights were shining on the studs and crystals," Hurst said.
With the Show Me Center and Osage Community Centre admitting about 10,000 people, the 35th annual Arts Council of Southeast Missouri Christmas extravaganza earned half its annual operating budget in a weekend, said community relations/gallery director Margaret Dement.
The 10th annual Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show at the Bavarian Halle is donating some of this year's proceeds to provide soldiers overseas with Christmas packages.
Event organizer Dixie Burnett said, "Some of the soldiers on our list this year are on their second and third tours of duty.
The show will also donate to Christmas gift programs, as it did last year with a gift of $2,000.
The River Valley Christmas Expo, in its 30th year, was held at Plaza Conference Center and the Arena Building. Admission between the two is usually between 6,000 and 7,000 people. Organizer Rick Werner said the expo usually donates to the hospitals after the bills are paid but this year will donate to Community Counseling Center Foundation and the Community Counseling Center Children's Services for the clients' Christmas party.
Arts Council volunteer Nona Nan Chapman, a board member for years who recently stepped down, said the show has seen improved quality of merchandise and increased attendance.
"Our goal was not just to sell the place out," she said. "Slowly in the past three to five years we've seen the improved quality without duplication" in merchandise categories.
Besides quality of vendors, there's also quantity.
"We're thrilled with the turnout," Dement said. "We have every booth booked at the Show Me and Osage centers."
335-6611, extension 133
River Valley Craft Club Christmas Expo
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today
Where: Arena Building, Plaza Conference Center
Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show
When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. today
Where: Bavarian Halle
Arts Council of Southeast Missouri Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today
Where: Show Me Center, Osage Community Center