CATSKILL - Shoppers looking to get some early holiday shopping done could cross off one to-do item on their list this weekend at the Community Life Church craft fair in Catskill.
The Community Craft Fair was held in the gymnasium of the church between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“We wanted to do something on a community level that you really don’t see too much of,” said Erin Vincent, fundraising coordinator of the Community Life Church. “Craft fairs around here are a little bit lacking. We wanted to bring something specifically to Catskill.”
This was the third year for the craft fair, according to Vincent. When looking into doing a fundraiser, The Community Life Church wanted to fill what members perceive as a gap in craft fairs in Catskill.
“Especially with businesses booming on Main Street,” Vincent said, “we wanted to draw local artisans from all over the place and have a nice diverse quality product to offer everyone.”
There is no theme to the craft fair, but it was planned to be close to Christmas to attract holiday shoppers. There is also a spring craft fair, which will be in its third year in 2019.
“We totally believe in shopping local when you can,” Vincent said.
This year there were 53 vendors with a diverse array of products from clothes, soaps and candles, to toys, bird houses and homemade honey. It was estimated that about 500 people showed up to last year’s craft fair, Vincent said. On Facebook, the fair’s event page has reached over 700 people.
Vendors seemed pleased with the event as well.
“This is a place to show off my talent,” said Community Life Church member and vendor Patty Gessner. “This is my third time here for the fall.”
Gessner is a member of the Community Life Church who views the craft fair as a win-win — it shows people what the church community is like and benefits the youth, as well as allows vendors to sell their crafts to the public.
“First off, it allows people to see the church, showing that we are friendly and happy,” Gessner said. “It also allows us to make money for the church this year; the money is going into the children’s programs,”.
Courtney Gambino, who runs the Character Closet, was selling make-your-own animal kits at the fair.
“We were here last year,” Gambino said, “This event is the reason that the make-your-own kits are a thing.”
Gambino said that last year, she had an activity table called the “Creation Station.” It was so popular that Gambino created a kit for people to purchase.
“That year I went home and developed a kit. Today I already sold seven,” she said.
The church was also rasing money to go towards the children’s programs at the Community Life Church, which include Vacation Bible Schools and other kids’ programs. All programs are free for the children, so money that is raised helps pay for the programs.
“We really believe that investing into our kids is going to make our community better,” Vincent said.