Craft fairs set up shop this weekend

Friday, November 19, 2010

Cape Girardeau and Jackson will be hubs of creativity and artistic expression this weekend when hundreds of arts and crafts exhibitors from across the Midwest fill local venues with their homemade wares.

Ann Gifford, chairwoman of the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri, said more than 300 vendors are booked at the Show Me Center and the Osage Community Centre for the 40th annual Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza. Gifford, who has been involved with the event in some way for 12 years, said she is excited about a new aspect: a fine arts showcase.

"This year we are very excited because we have the new addition -- a fine arts room," she said. "This will be a new opportunity for our clientele."

The room will showcase many accomplished artists, including members of the Best of Missouri Hands and Best of Arkansas Hands, the states' most elite group of crafters and artists.

Amy Pool, executive director of the arts council, said local artists will be on display in the new fine arts room. These include photography by both Dr. Joel Ray and Tom Neumeyer, Jerry Ford's new book "The Gordonville Grove," paintings by Craig Thomas and Jeannie Eddleman's prints of local landmarks.

Proceeds from the show support the arts council's programs to provide artistic opportunities for children and adults. A $5 pass lets guests into both locations throughout the two-day show; Sunday-only passes are $3. Show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

In conjunction with the crafts fair, there will be a Feed the Hungry bake sale at the Show Me Center to benefit the Southeast Missouri Food Bank. Empty Bowls will also have a booth setup at the Osage Centre, displaying their ceramics and information on the program.

Pool said the event draws an average of 10,000 shoppers each year.

"We have vendors coming from other states -- Wisconsin and Indiana," Pool said. "The first weekend before Thanksgiving is a time when everyone thinks of craft fairs."

Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show

The 15th annual Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show at the Bavarian Halle in Jackson is open from 5 to 9 p.m. today, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $1 today and Saturday. There is no admission Sunday.

"We are the only craft fair ... that is open Friday evening. We do that to kind of give everybody a chance to go to the other places Saturday, too," promoter Dixie Burnett said. "We have about 5,000 people come Friday and Saturday."

Burnett said vendors will be selling everything from jewelry to holiday wreaths and decor to antiques, and there are some new participants this year.

"One is the Zoomin' Groomer. They sell pet snacks and also have a van they use to go to a pet owner's home and groom the pet there," she said. "Another home-based business this year is Tom Boy Tools. It's a line of pink tools made especially for women.

Proceeds will benefit the Notre Dame Performing and Visual Arts Program, Christmas for the Elderly, Toybox and Toys for Tots.

River Valley Craft Fair

This weekend shoppers can also visit the River Valley Craft Fair at the Arena Building. The event is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

"We're real excited this year. We have all kinds of new and exciting things going on," said Rick Werner, president of the River Valley Craft Fair. "We've added the 4-H building to expand because we've had so many crafters interested in doing it."

Werner said there are about 250 vendors setting up, and this year offers new entertainment for the kids.

"Santa Claus will be there, so kids can get their picture taken with Santa," he said. "The Humane Society will be there also. There will be pets for adoption, and they can also entertain the kids while they're waiting in line to get pictures made."

Admission is $5 for a weekend pass, and $3 for Sunday only. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Humane Society of Southeast Missouri.

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