By Frank Kourt
While Saturday’s weather, with clear blue skies and temperatures nearing the 70 degree mark, didn’t exactly invoke thoughts of the Christmas season, all was merry and bright inside the Kirksville Community Center for the third annual Christmas Gathering at Kirksville.
According to Billie Battles, the group’s event planner, 56 crafters and other vendors were set up for the event in the crowded gymnasium of the building.
She said the gathering is a fund-raiser for the community center, with proceeds from fees collected from the vendors and a silent auction going to support the facility and its programs. The group also collected non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army as part of the festivities.
Offerings included traditional holiday-themed merchandise ranging from homemade wreaths, knitted items, etched glass, lawn decorations and more, while businesses, such as The Pampered Chef and Mary Kay Cosmetics were also represented.
Crafters from all over Kentucky, including Lexington, Somerset, Barbourville, Monticello, sold their wares and chatted with potential buyers throughout the five-hour event.
Even before setting foot inside the center, visitors were greeted by a display of lawn ornaments, mesh and burlap wreaths and other holiday-oriented items courtesy of Glenda Porter, of Olde Crow Crafts of Flemingsburg.
Porter, assisted by her mom, said she’s been making her creations for about 10 years, and does about 15 craft shows a year.
Among the more unusual offerings inside was Art Work by Suzanne, featuring, among other things, pet portraits. Owner Suzanne Jones of Richmond, a retired school art teacher, said she just recently started doing custom portraits of pets in various sizes, in media ranging from colored pencil to acrylic, to watercolors and pastels.
Jones, who taught art for about 20 years at Silver Creek Elementary School in Waco, also offers other art, including family portraits. She said this was her first public arts and crafts event.
H.M. Powell, Hand Crafted Bowls by H.M. Powell, of Monticello, said he has been making handcrafted bowls and other wooden items, such as cutting boards, and selling them at shows throughout Kentucky and Tennessee since retiring from his upholstery business in 2005, and does about 10 such shows a year.
“I’ve been working with wood all my life, and this gives me something to do,” said Powell, who also sells his wares from his home and at a local farmer’s market.
Besides holiday-themed crafts, vendors were also offering jewelry, candles and homemade goodies such as jellies, fudge and baked goods.
Of course, no holiday event would be complete without Santa, who held court from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., patiently listening to the Christmas wishes of the kids in attendance.
The Christmas Gathering is one of two annual fundraisers for the community center. An annual Spring Gathering is also held each year.