Craft shows offer head start on holiday shopping

Sunday, November 18, 2007
Eight-year-old Kaitlyn Keller perused Barbie Doll dresses and accessories at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri crafts fair Saturday morning at the Show Me Center. (Kit Doyle ~

This weekend's local craft shows gave shoppers countless opportunities to start -- or finish -- their Christmas shopping.

The 37th annual Arts Council of Southeast Missouri's Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza is being held at the Show Me Center and the Osage Community Centre in Cape Girardeau. The River Valley Craft Club Christmas Expo is at the Plaza Conference Center near Holiday Inn and the Arena Building. The Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show is at the Bavarian Halle near Fruitland. All three shows, which were expecting visitors to number in the thousands, conclude today.

On Saturday, the Bavarian Halle was filled with vendors.

"I wish we had more space," coordinator Dixie Burnett said. "We had to turn away a dozen vendors this year, but I was able to direct them to other shows."

Seven vendors have been with her since 1995. The markets they fill are personalized T-shirts, home-canned goods, wreaths, basket nativities, laser wood craft, handmade gift items and rugs.

"There's more woodworking this year. People just don't make things by hand anymore," she said.

Ashley Malone and her two sisters, dressed in fluorescent pink shirts, sold dog clothes at a hall table. Hillside Tees and More is a business their mother operates out of her Cedar Hill, Mo., home. The show was the dog clothes division's debut. Malone said the business grew because of their dog Lexus.

"She loves to dress up," Malone said. "But she doesn't like pajamas and finds a way to get them off."

Pamela Anderson, Chrissy Taylor and Tonika Schuster, all from Southern Illinois, made the Arena Building their second stop of the day. Anderson said she was comparison shopping and had not bought anything yet. Besides, "the weather is nice and it's hard to get in the holiday mood," she said. Schuster, her cousin, was pleased with a wreath she bought in the shape of an angel.

Carol Callis of Cape Girardeau and granddaughter Lindsey Parker of Jackson were also among those who stopped at the Arena Building. Parker, 18, bought a cross necklace at the Plaza Conference Center, while her grandmother bought a personalized Christmas ornament for her puppy.

"I enjoyed the Arena Building more," Callis said. "It was less crowded and seemed to have more variety. I had more of a chance to look around."

Vendors at the Osage Community Centre displayed such goods as ceramics, handmade jewelry, handblown glass and leather crafts.

Susie Riley, co-owner of a Tennessee-based floral shop, said she shuts down her business for a few days to come here.

"In two days we can make $3,000 to $4,000. This is the best show I do all year," she said.

Riley's best-sellers were caddies for carrying cakes or casseroles. The caddies had wood bases and were decorated in religious, patriotic, birthday and other themes.

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