Homespun Christmas And Craft Fair Brings A Piece Of The North Pole To The North State

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You may not be able to get the kids to the North Pole this year, but what if a little bit of the North Pole came to the North State?

Santa Claus and his wife will be coming to town for the Homespun Christmas and Craft Fair at the Shasta District Fairgrounds in Anderson December 5–7. They’re bringing along friends like Frosty the Snowman, the Grinch, and even the Gingerbread Man to pose for free photos with shoppers  who can browse booths offering everything from homemade quilts and dolls to personalized ornaments and centerpieces.

“I just love to see the children as they come in – the look on their faces as they see all the decorations,” says Cathy Pair, a Shasta Lake resident and craft vendor helping to organize this year’s fair.

Admission and parking are free, but visitors are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy or gift to donate to Toys From the Heart, a nonprofit organization working to collect Christmas gifts for nearly 800 children in need in south Shasta County. Volunteers hope to distribute more than 2,000 presents, including toys, pajamas and clothing, as well as books and educational materials.

Sponsors and vendors have also organized a raffle with prizes that include free rounds of golf, gift baskets of tools, and gift certificates to area restaurants and coffee houses. Raffle proceeds will benefit the Children’s Organ Transplant Association (COTA) campaign to cover medical expenses for Jonnie Cravens, a 13-year-old Redding girl who received a kidney transplant earlier this year.

“All the money we raise will help Jonnie to continue to pay for medications, additional doctor’s visits and eventually another transplant,” says Theresa Azevedo, a family friend and community organizer with the COTA for Jonnie campaign.

The craft fair also includes an “Ugly Christmas Sweater Social” on Friday evening and a $5 Breakfast with Santa on Saturday and Sunday mornings from 8 to 10 a.m. And this year’s fair features live performances on Saturday from Enterprise High School’s esteemed musical troupe “Enterprise Starship.”

  “My main goal every year has been that people are able to be loved on during the holiday season,” says Carl Hawkins, who founded the event six years ago to help the Good News Rescue Mission at a time the region suffered high unemployment rates in the midst of a recession. Since then, other charities including Anderson Cottonwood Christian Assistance have benefited.

Hawkins says he didn’t intend for the fundraiser to become an annual event, but vendors and visitors alike have rallied together to keep a new tradition going. And while money and manpower remain challenges facing the fair, the vendor booth fees manage to cover the cost of renting the facility while volunteers band together in the hours before opening day to quickly transform the venue into a piece of the North Pole.

“It literally happens overnight,” says Hawkins, who now lives in Humboldt. “The whole purpose of the event is to benefit the community. How can we give back in a fun way? It’s Christmas, and we have kids. How can we make this fun?”

Visitors are sure to find a perfect homespun gift at a reasonable price, says Pair, one of the original vendors. She enjoys seeing the creativity the community brings to the event every year. In her own booth, she sells everything from pinecone centerpieces to needlepoint music boxes.

“I try to have a lot of 50-cent and 75-cent items too. We have a lot of kids come in with their crumpled up dollar bills, looking for something to buy for their moms,” she says. “If you think back to the olden days, it’s like a small-town community fundraiser when everyone gets together to celebrate and help out. It’s really a fun event.”

For more information: homespuncraftfair.com; (530) 275-4322 or (530) 510-2272.

Sonia Giordani-Johnston
About Sonia Giordani-Johnston

Sonia Giordani-Johnston is a freelance writer inspired by generous people who do small acts of kindness with great love. She lives in Redding with her husband, their four children, a dog and 12 chickens.

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