PITTSBURG, Kan. — Saturday ushered in the holiday season for Pittsburg with the annual Holiday Craft Fair.
22 vendors set up festive booths at the Pittsburg Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 14 to sell their homemade holiday items to the fairgoers as they perused booths and waited for a photo with Santa and Mrs. Clause.
From homemade baked goods and hand-knit ponchos to jewelry made out of coins from around the world and snowflakes made out of hangers, a wide assortment of sellers were speckled throughout the pavilion.
This was the twelfth annual Holiday Craft Fair hosted by the city, but this year looked a little different due to COVID-19.
According to Pittsburg’s Recreation Program Director Ashten Clark, the event is usually held in the beginning of December in the basement of Memorial Auditorium, but due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, they decided to move it outside, and earlier in the year.
“It’s actually worked out really well,” Clark said. “We were able to have more vendors this year. We’re thinking about holding it here again next year.”
For some like Laurie Johnson of DeLightful Gifts, which sells “designer scented firestarters,” the Pittsburg Holiday Craft Fair is a highlight of the year.
“I’m a people person,” Johnson said. “I love, love people and dealing with people.”
But for others like Kelli Kline, selling at the craft fair this year was a necessity for her business after many other events were cancelled.
“I’ve sold my stuff at the KC Renaissance Fair for 44 years, but this year they canceled it,” Kline said. “Actually, all my shows this year got canceled and two I had already paid for in 2021 have also already been canceled. That’s why I’m here. I haven’t really had a chance to show my stuff this year.”
Kline makes one-of-a-kind jewelry and does all her own metal work and stone polishing. Her biggest seller is necklaces and keychains made from coins from around the world.
“I can do any country you want.” she said. “I have thousands.”
Besides giving local vendors a platform, the craft fair also marked an opportunity to give back to the community. Entry to the fair was one non-perishable food item that was then donated to Wesely House, and the fees vendors paid to participate will be used to buy toys for KOAM’s annual Toybox toy drive.
“It’s just such a great opportunity for community outreach,” Clark said.