Craft Events Attract Hundreds Of Holiday Shoppers

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Hundreds flocked to the Dairy Barn Arts Center and Kennedy Museum of Art over the weekend to pick up handcrafted gifts for the holiday season.

The annual Holiday Bazaar at the Dairy Barn Arts Center was held Friday and Saturday and featured over 40 craft vendors. Claire White, Dairy Barn Gallery Shop director and bazaar organizer, said that fiber arts items were popular this year.

“We had a very good, steady turnout,” White said on Saturday evening.

Alyson Annette Eshelman, owner of Caterpillar Dreams Studio, said it was her first time vending at the holiday bazaar. She sold gifts ranging from scarves, table linens and sock monkeys.

“I had good business,” Eshelman said of the bazaar.

The annual Native American jewelry sale was also held over the weekend at the Kennedy Museum of Art. The sale is organized by Meg Toomey, one of the owners of White’s Mill. Toomey said the sale has been happening for approximately 15 years.

The Native American jewelry sale features handcrafted jewelry and gifts from primarily Navajo and Hopi tribes in Arizona and New Mexico.

According to Toomey, the December jewelry sale brings out a lot of holiday shoppers. The sale is also held in the spring during Ohio University’s Moms Weekend.

The jewelry sale not only benefits Toomey and the Native Americans who crafted the items, but also the Friends of the Kennedy Museum. A portion of the proceeds benefit the organization, which supports and promotes the Kennedy Museum of Art.

Those funds are used for things like providing bus transportation for schools for field trips to the museum and educational programs.

On Saturday, Toomey said the sale had a good turnout.

More than 60 people also attended the third annual Holiday Craft Swap held at ARTS/West. The unique event allows crafters — no matter what experience level — to make handmade gifts and swap for other items for cash-free holiday shopping. There were more than 600 items swapped at the event on Saturday afternoon, with items ranging from ornaments and apple butter to jewelry and throw pillows.

When asked why she preferred local handmade gifts, Lisa Schneider said, “I buy local gifts for friends and family who no longer live in Athens but miss it every day.”

The Athens Local Professional Artists and Craftsmen Association (ALPACA) Holiday Shoppe will be held this weekend at the Athens Community Center. The hours are Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m.