Visitors to flood Cape for weekend craft shows

Thursday, November 15, 2012
This file photo shows The River Valley Craft Club Christmas Expo at the Arena Building. (Fred Lynch)

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect the correct spelling of Murielle Gaither's name and the admission cost for the Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza.

Cape Girardeau will become a haven for buyers of handmade crafts this weekend when it hosts arts and crafts shows offering gifts for the holidays.

One destination for visitors will be the Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza, sponsored by the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri for the past 42 years. According to Murielle Gaither, director of the arts council, there will be about 300 vendors at its two locations at the Show Me Center and Osage Centre.

"Last year we had 12,000 visitors come through both of our sites," she added. "We're expecting the same, if not more, this year. We should have people coming from Illinois, Indiana and Ohio, and other parts of the Midwest."

Wyman said the arts council's crafts show is a great way to kick off the Christmas shopping season, and a place to find gifts for the person who has everything.

"Among others, there will be displays of wood and metal craft, antler art, jewelry making and even guitar making," she said. "You name it and we'll probably have it, but as a new touch we've added an aisle for men only. Sometimes men come with their wives and go where they are taken, but this year there will be male-oriented items just for them."

The Christmas Arts and Crafts Extravaganza will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at both locations. Admission is $5 for Saturday and Sunday and $3 for Sunday only.

Another Cape Girardeau craft show with staying power is the 37th annual River Valley Craft Fair at the Arena Building and the 4-H Building in Arena Park.

The River Valley Craft Club hosts this show, and more than 150 vendors are expected to set up in the two buildings this year. Everything from furniture to hair bows will be sold and Santa Claus has been known to make an appearance in years past.

The River Valley Craft Fair runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 Saturday and $3 Sunday.

A change in this year's craft-show lineup is the move of the Crafts, Gifts and Collectibles Show from Jackson's Bavarian Halle to Notre Dame Regional High School.

"We wanted the venue to be in the neighborhood of the other craft-show locations in Cape," said Tony Buehrle, Notre Dame Regional High School's director of development. "We've sponsored the show for five years, and bringing it closer to Cape puts us closer to potential visitors. Everybody comes to town for the craft shows."

About 100 vendors are expected to be showing their wares in Notre Dame's multipurpose room over the weekend.

"We'll also have our students and parents involved," Buehrle said. "The students are working on Christmas items to be sold at the show, and we have parents helping us out to make sure things run as smooth as possible."

Buehrle said the craft show will open Friday night and proceeds will benefit the Notre Dame Performing and Visual Arts Program and other causes.

"We're looking to help fund our arts program," he said, "but we'll also donate to Toys for Tots, Toybox and Christmas for the Elderly. The way the economy has been going, especially in the last few years, people need a hand. We're also looking at sending soldier packages to our troops."

The Crafts, Gifts, and Collectibles show runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $1 Friday and Saturday. Sunday is free admission.

A relative newcomer is Craft Fair Weekend, sponsored by The Golden Needle Inc. of Cape Girardeau.

"This is our second year sponsoring a craft show," said Rosie Conrad, craft-show coordinator for The Golden Needle. "Don't think we're just about sewing. We're going to have a wide variety of items that include wood and metal crafts, candles and Christmas items, to name a few. But there will be quilted merchandise, too."

Conrad said there will be about 20 vendors for visitors to choose from.

Craft Fair Weekend will be in the former Siemers building at 342 S. Kingshighway from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free both days.

According to Chuck Martin of the Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, it is difficult to quantify the economic impact of the craft shows. But Martin said that anytime there are 10,000 to 12,000 people in town willing to spend money, it's a good thing.

"I have no doubt that folks from Southeast Missouri, Southern Illinois and elsewhere will be coming to take advantage of the shows," he said. "The impact of their visit will not be minimal. People will want to duck into somewhere for lunch and dinner. They will perhaps do more conventional shopping at Cape stores. They will likely put gas in their vehicles here. In short, they'll spend money for a variety of reasons. That's always a plus."


Pertinent address:

410 Kiwanis Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, Mo.

1625 N. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

342 S. Kingshighway, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

265 Notre Dame Drive, Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Map of pertinent addresses

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