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'Handmade Holiday' draws hundreds of shoppers for local goods and gifts

By KIRK BOXLEITNER
Arlington Times Reporter
December 11, 2013 · 7:21 PM
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From left, Toni Forsman and her granddaughters, Kaelin Klein and Ivy Ewing, check out the handcrafted ornaments of local vendor Anne Francis at this year's 'Handmade Holiday' in downtown Arlington on Dec. 7. / Kirk Boxleitner

ARLINGTON — The Co-op Supply drew an estimated 600 visitors for this year's "Handmade Holiday," which was scheduled to coincide with the "Hometown Holidays" in downtown Arlington on Dec. 7.

The seasonally themed indoor gift market touted a baker's dozen of vendors, around its average number of artists, crafters, bakers and farmers, according to Samantha Schuller, community outreach coordinator for the Arlington Farmers' Market.

"We had fewer attendees than last year, but shoppers really supported all the vendors, for a day of good sales," Schuller said. "Anne Francis probably had the best day of any of the vendors. She sold holiday ornaments and home decor that she'd handmade herself, in spite of having a 7-year-old and a 1-year-old, and being three days overdue with her youngest."

Schuller expressed her gratitude to the Arlington High School Honor Society, whose student members supervised children in free craft activities, such as painting Christmas ornaments.

"They did such a great job helping kids decorate ornaments," Schuller said. "Anyone who left their ornaments to dry can pick them up by visiting the Co-op Supply building. We will definitely have more Arlington High School Honor Society volunteers working with us next year."

While the Misty Mountains Farm, Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm and Black Label Desserts all sought to fill shoppers' stomachs, Schuller also noted the selection of candles, soaps, hand-knit fabrics, children's clothing and toys at the gift market, which raffled baskets of locally grown goods to support the annual budget of the volunteer-run Arlington Farmers' Market.

"Shoppers know they can expect more of the unique quality local gifts that they've been proud to share with their loved ones in previous years," Schuller said. "Our talented craftspeople work all year long on this."

Schuller appreciates the annual Handmade Holiday events for reuniting her with the area vendors who take part in these local markets.

"We spend all summer together, through the Arlington Farmers' Market, sharing coffee early and chatting over lunch breaks," Schuller said. "At the close of the season, we all miss the camaraderie. The Handmade Holiday is a chance for all of us to get back together and catch up. The Arlington Farmers' Market is a collective of hardworking locals with talent and passion for their community, and the gifts you buy from them will serve as treasured reminders of Arlington's unique spirit."

Schuller thanked the community for coming out to support the Handmade Holiday, and speculated that Santa might return to the Co-op Supply, for photos with kids and families, for next year's Hometown Holidays.

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