Archive for Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Name Craft Fair enlivens downtown

February 15, 2011

It’s known as the No Name Craft Fair, but there were plenty of people selling crafts and a steady crowd Saturday at Bichelmeyer’s Steakhouse banquet room.

A total of 18 vendors set up in the room, said one of the organizers, Donna Stockton.

She said the fair was created as a way for people who make crafts “at their kitchen tables” to have an outlet for their wares.

Stockton makes various crafts, such as stepping stones and stained-glass items.

“It’s open for people who build stuff in their kitchen,” Stockton said. “I do my stepping stones in my kitchen. I kind of met the criteria. It’s messy. I’m still cleaning after two weeks of working in my kitchen.”

She noted some might not do their crafts in kitchens, but the fair is a way for locals to showcase homemade crafts or businesses they run out of their homes, such as candles.

“Basically the person who doesn’t have a shop of their own,” Stockton said. “People who’d like their crafts to kind of pay for themselves.

“I don’t see people making millions of dollars at our craft fair. But maybe they will be hooked up with someone to make their first million dollars.”

Fellow organizer Michelle Selby owns Wild Horse Antiques, which is next door to Bichelmeyer’s Steakhouse and The Royale pawn shop, which is situated in front of the banquet hall.

Selby said people traveled from various points in the Kansas City metro area, as well as Hays. Even residents from Dodge City, who have relatives in Tonganoxie, came to town for the event.

“There were a number of people who said they had never been to Tonganoxie and I was thrilled,” Selby said about the new visitors.

Matt and Vicki Bichelmeyer, owner’s of the steakhouse and pawn shop, are Selby’s brother-in-law and sister. Matt said he was impressed with the craft show. He said it helped increase business by 30-40 percent for a Saturday.

He said he was “ecstatic” about the craft fair bringing people to downtown Tonganoxie. And, he hoped it was a sign of things to come.

Selby said plans were in the works for another craft fair for Saturday, March 12, which is the same day as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Tonganoxie.

Emily Foster of Tonganoxie makes handmade jewelry and has her creations in a boutique in San Diego, where she formerly lived, as well as at H Ave. in downtown Tonganoxie.

She said she had plenty of interest at her booth Saturday. She said she thought the fair was successful because people like homemade products.

“I think people appreciate hand-made items,” she said.

The fair had a variety of items for sale, including spun yarn made from Alpaca wool. Pam Jones, who also has her product at the Renaissance Festival, spins the yarn. She said her product is fairly unique.

Vendors will have the opportunity to sell again in March. And in April, Selby is looking to have, for what she called lack of better words, an “antique road show.” People could bring in their antiques, art and more to be appraised by certified appraisers.

Selby said she hoped something could continue to be offered in the way of craft and antique shows. She also said the fair was a testament to the town.

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