Friends to host first-ever 'Winter Wonderland' craft fair

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By Liz Premo

Hampton Union, December 3, 2013

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Craft sale items

HAMPTON — There's a brand new craft fair coming to town this weekend, and it promises to be a fun, friendly event for participating vendors as well as for shoppers.

Coordinated by Friends of the Lane Memorial Library President Wendi Lewis and her friend Kristin Lyons, the first-ever "Winter Wonderland" craft fair and bake sale will be taking place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, in the Lane Room at the library, located at 2 Academy Avenue in Hampton.

"There's going to be lots of different things," said Lewis. "I think it's going to be great."

Twenty craft vendors have signed up to take part, and according to Lewis there will be an impressive selection of crafts from which to choose.

Offerings include jewelry and other accessories, blankets, tie-dye clothing, knitted hats, wood crafts, ornaments, candles, decorative household items, and much more. There will also be a couple of local authors selling their books.

"We got a great response right off the bat. That was really nice," said Lewis, noting that each vendor paid $10 for a table upon which to display their wares.

Additionally, each vendor will be donating one of their specialty items that will go into a drawing, for which tickets can be purchased.

Lewis added that this newly-formed event isn't necessarily a major fund-raising effort for the Friends — it's also an opportunity for crafters to display their wares and benefit as well.

"This is the time of year we look for donations, which is great," Lewis said. "But I thought, 'let's just do something fun so people can make some holiday spending money.' I just wanted it to be a fun thing."

The idea for the Friends' "Winter Wonderland" community craft fair was generated through Lewis' participation in a project for which Lyons and her daughter Catherine set a goal last spring to make and donate 100 knit hats for Children's Hospital in Boston.

The hats were created on a Loops & Threads Knit Quick knitting loom set. According to Lewis, "Kristin showed me how to do it, and I have been hooked ever since. I haven't been able to stop. I love it."

As her interest and proficiency in loom knitting grew (depending upon the style, she can create a hat in two hours or less) and her inventory increased, Lewis found that an idea was also starting to take shape.

She said she began to wonder "if the library would like to do some kind of craft fair" during the holiday season, particularly since the Friends' highly popular American Girl doll clothing sales are no longer being held.

"My take on it is that it would be nice for people to see local people's stuff. I thought it would be a good replacement," said Lewis, who ran the idea past library staff and discussed it with the Friends' board at one of their meetings.

Finding hearty interest and receiving approval all the way around, Lewis and Lyons set to work, promoting the event and getting the word out to potential vendors via e-mail and online, including through the Friends' Facebook page.

Response was swift. "Within a week, I had almost all my 20 vendors," said Lewis, adding that holding the event the same day as the annual Hampton Christmas Parade holds the potential for plenty of foot traffic into the library.

Lewis herself will be one of the vendors, and as of last week had close to 60 hats from child to adult sizes to sell, with more coming. One of her specialty designs features plenty of snowman style, complete with top hat, button eyes and a "carrot" nose. "Everyone who has seen the hats says, 'I didn't know you knew how to knit.' I don't know how to knit!" she laughed. "I have been having a good time with this."

Lewis, a frequent library patron who has been deeply involved with other Friends' events (including the group's popular annual Valentine tea), is looking forward to this inaugural effort as well. "I am glad we got so many people interested. We're really excited about it. I think it's going to be a fun time," she said. "We're testing the waters. I hope it works out and we get to do it again."

Proceeds generated through the bake sale, drawing and table rentals will benefit the mission of the organization in its ongoing support of the library.

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