People spent their time, skills and resources to make gifts for friends and family. A wood-carved toy, a knitted sweater or a basket of baked goods to this day reminds us some of the best gifts in life don’t come prepackaged on a shelf.
But as time marches on, each generation seems to get further from the knowledge to hand make, well anything. Luckily, there are those young and old who have kept the handcrafted arts alive and sell their wares at craft fairs across the country. Three local craft fairs have become intertwined in the holiday shopping season in eastern Tulare County.
The Lemoncove Holiday Bazaar began as a fund-raiser for Sequoia Union School 11 years ago.
Catherin Doe, event chairperson for the Sequoia Union Parent-Teacher Cooperative, said the bazaar is unique because no two vendors are alike.
“About 80% of everything here is handmade,” Doe said. “We make sure there aren’t two vendors selling jewelry or beading or anything else.”
The craft fair offers hand-made ornaments, jean purses, hand sewn snowmen decorations, dolls and doll accessories, beaded jewelry, Native American art, artwork, prints, hand painted Christmas cards, apple specialty foods, solar light Christmas stands and much, much more. New this year is a “man-cave” section featuring metal cut-outs used as decorations, duct-tape wallets, bow and arrows, marshmallow guns, and items made with NFL logos of your favorite teams. There are also arts and crafts activities set up for the kids with a suggested $1 donation. Starbucks coffee will be served for the adults.
“There is a lot of diversity every year, but this year there will be a lot more for sale. “It’s just another reason to buy local and support local non-profits.”
Doe said all of the proceeds from the bazaar go toward athletic uniforms, school field trips and uniforms for the recent formation of a school band at Sequoia Union, a single-school K-8 district in Lemon Cove.
“We are one of the few school’s who have never cut back on field trips,” Doe said. “Because we raise donations to cover them, we have been able to continue to offer enrichment by taking the students to experience places.”
While the event is a fund-raiser for the school, Doe said it is not the school’s largest, a distinction held by its annual Fall Carnival in October. Instead, the primary focus of the event is to raise awareness about the school itself.
“It really opened up people to the idea that a school exists here,” Doe said.
Sponsored by the Sequoia Union PTC, the Lemoncove Holiday Bazaar will be held from 1-4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7 and from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Lemon Cove Memorial Building, located at 23958 Avenue 324 in Lemon Cove. Take Highway 198 to Avenue 324 and follow the sign to the Lemon Cove Memorial Building right next to Sequoia Union Elementary School. For more information call Catherin Doe at 559-597-9846.
A week earlier and a little further down Highway 198 on Saturday, Dec. 1 is the Lemoncove Christmas Bazaar and Luncheon sponsored by the Lemon Cove Women’s Club.
This is a great opportunity to see inside one of Tulare County’s historic treasures while getting into the holiday spirit. This beautiful turn of the century home located on Avenue 324 and Highway 198 was built by a local pioneer family. Known as the Pogue Hotel, the more than a century-old building is now home to the Women’s Club and their museum.
Mary Cloud, former chair of the event, said the craft fair is entirely local. Most of the items for sale are baked by the club members and all of the proceeds from the event help maintain their historic home.
“This is our largest fund-raiser of the year and all of the money is to do upkeep on the building,” Cloud said. “This event, along with our rummage sale in October helped us put a new roof on the building. We are now identifying other repairs that are needed.”
The bazaar starts at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1. Lunch will be served at noon followed by a card party. Lunch tickets are $15. If you are unable to attend the bazaar and luncheon, but still want to donate, call Mona Wyatt at 559-397-4465.
The day after, on Sunday, Dec. 2, the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 94 will hold its 43rd annual Country Craft Fair in Exeter. Chairperson Jean Lillich said the show is one of the area’s largest craft show featuring 76 booths of handmade toys, gifts, wood crafts, wearable art, dolls and more from 60 crafters throughout the Valley. Members of the auxiliary also bake homemade pies sold at the event for a special take home treat.
“The majority of what we sell is homemade or handmade,” Lillich said. “It’s a great place to go shopping and help a lot of great causes.”
Lillich said the Auxiliary uses proceeds from the event to support veterans and children of veterans as well as the Smile Train at Childrens’ Hospitals and local the Exeter Food Closet.
“We enjoy helping everyone we can,” Lillich said. “But our primary purpose is to support veterans. There are so many needs for troops coming home. And different needs from the past, such as female soldiers who are pregnant or have children.”
The event is held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 4 at the Exeter Memorial Building, 324 N. Kaweah Ave. in Exeter. Admission is free. For more information, call Jean Lillich at 559-592-5376 or Betty Carmona at 559-592-4311.