Until moving to a far, (far, far, far) northern state, I did not know there were seasons for Craft Fairs. There are! Winter and Spring. For some reason, I love winter craft fairs. They are insanely crowded and parking is usually hard to find (although at our first one on Saturday, we got a spot directly across the street, on the street! Amazing!!) and once you are inside, they are hot. I mean so overly warm, you are carrying your coats, sweaters, and hats and fanning yourself. Ugh. Did I mention crowded? LOL.
We drove downtown on a blustery and cold day (little did we know the snow would start later in the night) and went to one of the largest craft fairs in the city. I was disappointed because it was about 1/2 the size as last year, but the sights, sounds, scents still excited me and pulled me in! “It’s so fluffy!” could be changed to, “It’s so shiny!” I love the glitter and glam of craft fairs, regardless of the size of the fair itself. One of the things I admire is our American creativity and how we find the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Some of the crafts are taking things you have lying around and making something you can sell out of it. Old silverware becomes jewelry and some pretty amazing wind chimes. Or old CDs become necklaces and earrings (that one was a shocker). And I love how diligently and carefully people work on wood crafts and knitting, sewing quilts and making hats. I think I love it because I am so bad at it. I can appreciate their efforts, time, and creativity. When people ask me what I craft, I respond that I am an excellent reader and I dabble in writing. That is it. Done. Total. And being the mom of 3 boys, I am now blessed with daughters-in-law. So far I have 2 of them and both of them are ridiculously talented women. I mean ridiculously talented. Sewing, painting, putting up fences or dancing on their toes. I am so outclassed by them, I don’t even try to do what they do. But I appreciate and admire their skills and talents so much. I have watched them craft up close and sat, mesmerized, while they do their creative thing. So I get why so many crafted items are costly. It is a lot of work, it takes a lot of time, and it is born of a creative talent that I do not possess, so I am more than willing to pay for it!
This year is my mom’s first foray into craft fair season in a state where they take it very seriously. It is every weekend and it is everywhere, in season. This winter looks to be filled with craft fairs. I am so excited. But like I said, this is my mom’s first season. And she has Alzheimer’s and with that comes a loss of social filters. She basically says what she thinks, and because she is older and has trouble hearing, she says it very loudly. Even in a crowded craft fair. Oh my. I tried to explain to her that some of the artwork she was looking at was particular to our part of the country and particular to the native peoples who live here. In fact, much of what she was looking at is regulated so that only native peoples can sell it (or use the raw materials to make it). She says, “Oh my God! $45 for earrings? That’s insane!!” Or “They want $50 for hand made gloves? Are they made of gold?” “Where do they get this stuff?” “Now that is a beautiful photograph. Oh my! $250!! Is it mounted on metal? What kind of photo is that??” On and on she commented. I had to hush her and move her along. I was apologizing and explaining behind her back and let me tell you, after 2 hours, I was exhausted.
Did I mention we did this foray into craft season as a family? Great-grandma, grandma (me), son, daughter-in-law, grandkids, her parents, sister and niece. Yeah. Group event. Yes, we got separated. Yes, we got lost. Yes, there were tons of people. Yes, I was so, so, so hot. My daughter-in-law and I can go to 5-7 of these in a day, and I believe our record was 6 of them in one day, hauling a 2-year-old!!! But we looked at each other, and when we were standing at the last booth in the last aisle, we were so done. And it was only 1/2 the size as last year. And it was just one craft fair! LOL! And, it hadn’t even snowed, yet! LOL! Did I mention we did this as an extended family? LOL! By the time we were standing in the foyer, we were all starving, over-heated, and over-peopled.
One of the highlights, though, was that Santa was there and we got photos for free! Our last thing to do as we exited the building. My mom was laughing at the grandkids scampering towards his lap, and the fact that the 4-year old could barely tolerate standing next to Santa, that she turned to me and said, “Maybe I should go see Santa, too.” And so I asked and Santa’s helper said she thought it would be great! And so we closed out our first craft fair, with a visit with Santa! Mom was giggling and having a ball. Poor Santa. No social filters, remember? LOL.
This week’s schedule is a little full, but I think there is time in there for some baking of Christmas recipes (I always do a couple of run-throughs, making sure I get it right before gifting recipes to people) and maybe a craft fair or two this weekend. I am hoping Mom comes to enjoy being out and seeing all these amazing crafts and meeting so many talented artisans as much as I do. As we move further into winter, we get to add snow and moving around in winter weather to the experience! LOL! All that being said, I am still excited and hope we have as much fun this year as last year, and the other years before. Let’s celebrate American ingenuity and talents! Bring on the craft fairs!