B y Jaime Thomas
Forget the masses at the mall this weekend and try shopping locally instead at the Poultney Christmas Fair.
As part of a tradition that has been going on for more than a quarter century, the “Christmas spectacular” will take place this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 28 and 29.
Sixty vendors are signed up to fill the Poultney High School gym with a vast variety of goods, most of which are made locally in Vermont.
Though many people will be flocking to the stores for Black Friday deals, Event Manager Jamie Condrill said the craft fair is a good alternative.
“Because they’re unique, handmade items versus mass-produced,” she said. “It gives people an opportunity to get something more personal and to actually talk to the person who made it.” And she pointed out that because the event is held for two days, people can still come to the fair even if they do “do” Black Friday.
The two-day span also gives shoppers more time to consider their purchases and thoroughly peruse.
“Sometimes people come through on the first day, think about it and come back and buy the second day,” Condrill said.
Fresh balsam wreaths will be among the endless and varied wares for sale. Other goods include candles, goat soap, pottery, rustic wood ware, lighted Christmas arrangements, painted glassware, handmade cards, painted wooden scenes, jewelry and more. Such specialty food items will be available as maple syrup, jams, jellies and baked goods, among others.
Condrill said there is usually a good turnout at the fair.
“It’s a tradition for a lot of local people and people from out of state that are visiting family,” she said.
To fuel up hungry shoppers, the seventh-grade Poultney class will be selling food as a fundraiser for their senior trip and prom. They’ll have basic lunch items such as soups, sandwiches, coffee and other drinks.
The annual event first started in the East Poultney Baptist Church but quickly outgrew that space; Condrill said she and other organizers plan the fair throughout the year.
Admission will be free, and the fair will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. Parking will be available in the front and back of the school. For more information call Condrill at 802-287-9570.