GUERNSEY--Nearly 60 vendors set up shop at Guernsey-Sunrise High School’s East Gym Saturday for the annual Community Holiday Bazaar.
The doors opened at 9 a.m. and by 10, the floor was a mass of shoppers checking out a wide variety of products, many of them handmade crafts with a Christmas theme. There were also several that offered food and drink including cabbage burgers, burritos and tamales.
Guernsey’s bazaar is a traditional event, having been held each November over the past 20 or more years. It is sponsored by the Tri-City Community Ed Outreach program and organized by Gail Heimbuck, Community Outreach Coordinator for the G-S Schools. Members of the Guernsey-Sunrise Future Business Leaders of America club were also on hand to help vendors set up, tear down and register guests for door prizes. They also worked with young children in making some Christmas crafts while parents spent time shopping at the bazaar’s main body. Although no exact numbers were recorded, it was estimated that between two and three hundred people passed up and down the aisles during the five-hour event.
Some vendors were first-time participants but there were also plenty of veterans who have been on the bazaar circuit for many years. Nearly all were from the tri-county area and over half were from the immediate Guernsey-Hartville area. A number of service organizations participated, selling raffle tickets to help further their community projects and drum up new members.
Sisters Nancy Heller and Lenora Troupe, also known as “The Farmer’s Daughters”are seasoned crafters who began making and selling items 27 years ago. They now refer to their business as “Carousel Crafts,” a very appropriate name for a team that has grown and adapted their products to fit the styles of the time.
Heller said, “We began in 1986,, making stuffed bunnies, Santas and snowmen. Then we went into dried floral arrangements and did some tole painting. Tnen the decorating trends changed and we moved on to making primitive wood items, primarily with a Christmas theme.”
Their work is a true family affair. Their husbands cut out the wood shapes needed and then the gals take over with sanding, painting and adding the decorative details. Their creations range from waist-high yard Santas to creations that can be put on a wall or shelves.
Ideas for their different producta have come from seeing what other dealers have and then adapting some of it with their own ideas to keep it fresh. Troupe noted, “We used to buy patterns but they’ve gotten extremely expensive.”
Although they’ve sold at some bigger shows, they now say they’re attending four area shows a year held in Guernsey, Lingle, Torrington and Lusk. They’ve been to Guernsey’s show for the past seven or eight years.
A few rows down, Evelyn Smith of Lingle, sells woven polyester and cotton rugs she makes on a loom at home. After a friend could no longer physically handle the weaving a few years ago, Evelyn bought the loom-a 30-inch table model--and began making the rugs. She explained, saying, “I’m not one to sit still very long-I have to be doing something, even when I’m watching television in the evening.”
She is no stranger to handiwork such as weaving. She also knows how to crochet and knit, skills she picked when she was a young girl. She is also an accomplished artist. “I’m always doing something-it helps keep me out of trouble I guess.”
By 2 p.m. most of the customers had come and gone and FBLA members went to work helping the vendors break down and take items back to their vehicles, a gesture most-appreciated by many.
Heimbuck said registration proceeds from the bazaar will be used to help the FBLA group as well as fund the cost of bringing the Missoula Children’s Theater to Guernsey-Sunrise next spring.