The art of crafts dazzles crowds at CraftWestport
Fine art and furnishings. Stylish jewelry. One-of-a-kind gift items. Gooey baked goods.
All were showcased at the 36th annual CraftWestport, sponsored by the Westport Young Women's League, over the weekend at Staples High School.
More than 160 craft vendors registered for the event, showing and selling handcrafted items in a spectrum of styles, shapes and substances, including clay, metal, leather, jewelry, glass, fiber, mixed media, painting, photography, drawing, printmaking and wood. Proceeds generated from admission fees and women's league projects, including a baked goods sale and teacup raffle, are distributed among some 30 regional charities.
"We do two fundraisers a year -- this craft show and our Minuteman race in the spring," said Dot Baliban, the league's chairwoman for CraftWestport. The non-profit has 120 members and is housed at the Westport Woman's Club on Imperial Avenue.
"It's an extremely popular show," Baliban said, "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," she added. "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 was divided into two main areas: a food/consumables section and arts/crafts hall. In the food area, more than a dozen vendors showed and sampled products including seasonings, nuts, peanut brittle, bagel snaps and baked goods.
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."
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