One-Stop Holiday Shopping
By Mike Lauterborn
(for Westport News)
Westport, CT – Cocktail table nibblies. Gooey baked goods. Fine art. Stylish jewelry. All this and more was represented at Staples High School Saturday, in the 36th annual staging of CraftWestport, presented by the Westport Young Woman’s League (WYWL) and facilitated by show producer ArtRider.
In fact, over 160 vendors were registered at the event, showing and selling handcrafted items in a wide spectrum of mediums including clay, metal, leather, jewelry, glass, fiber, mixed media, painting, photography, drawing, printmaking and wood. Monies generated from admission fees and WYWL-hosted activities, including a bake sale and teacup raffle, are distributed among some 30 regional charities. The show runs a second day – Sunday, November 20, from 10a.m. to 5p.m. Admission is $9 (seniors are $8, children are free).
“We do two fundraisers a year – this craft show and our Minuteman race in the spring,” said Dot Baliban, chairperson for CraftWestport, about the WYWL. The non-profit claims 120 members and is housed at the Westport Woman’s Club on Imperial Avenue.
“It’s an extremely popular show,” Baliban continued, “ranked among the top 10 craft events on the east coast. We get a constant stream of visitors. Last year, 3,500 people attended and we raised $85,000. New this year, attendees get $1 off their ticket price if they bring in a canned good. All food collected will be donated to Al’s Angels, a Westport charity that provides children and families in the tri-state area suffering with life-threatening cancer and rare blood diseases with holiday meals and gifts.”
The event is divided into two main areas: a food/consumables section and arts/crafts hall. In the food area, over a dozen vendors showed and sampled products including seasonings, nuts, peanut brittle, bagel snaps and baked goods.
Greenwich resident Nina King was visiting a popular booth, The Nut Lady, manned by Bob Weinberg. “It’s a beautiful Saturday and fun to see all the products,” she said. “I always find interesting things.”
Margaret Ogdon, of Wilton, perused Shari Manfredi’s Merriweather’s skincare products, with her daughter Eve, 11, and Eve’s friend Shelby Connor. “This is an annual thing for us,” Ogdon said. “It’s a great place to buy gifts. And if I see something unusual that’s appropriate for Thanksgiving, I’ll purchase that, too.”
Connor chimed in, “I bought things for my mom and brother, for Christmas. It’s a fun time, especially with my best friend.”
It was vendor Debbie Sadowsky, of Mostly Myrtle’s specialty baked goods, first time participating in the show. “People are lovely, gracious and friendly,” she said. “There are great holiday shopping opportunities for visitors.”
CraftWestport is held at Staples High School, 70 North Avenue, Westport. For more information, visit www.wywl.com