Decades-old Mount View Christmas Craft Fair a community success

Posted Dec. 04, 2010, at 6:46 p.m.

THORNDIKE — All day long Saturday, Logan Esancy hawked his wares at the Mount View High School Christmas Craft Fair with enthusiasm and a certain showman’s flair.

“I have the best prices in town!” Logan, an 18-year-old senior from Liberty, cried out to all comers at the 21st annual fair. “I’m better than Walmart all the time, because all my prices are cheap.”

He was selling things such as homemade lavender bath salts, a tiny wooden zebra and more, all for a good cause. The proceeds from the craft fair support Mount View High School’s Project Graduation.

“It’s a whole communitywide event,” class president Zach Mehuren of Brooks said of the craft fair.

Project Graduation is special, he added, because “it’s the last night we [high school seniors] get to spend together.”

They and many other seniors volunteered their time to help raise the expected $5,000-plus that the fair usually makes through vendor fees, bake sales and raffles, said organizer and teacher Donyse Babin.

“It’s been very successful,” she said.

More than 130 crafters from all over Maine — and even one hardy woman from Massachusetts — set up tables at the high school to sell wooden turkey calls, hand-knitted sweaters, American Girl doll outfits and much more.

“I did very well today,” said Terry Oullette of Gardner, Mass., who sold unforgettable tissue box covers that look like couches. “It was worthwhile for me.”

Lisa Basner of Waldoboro runs her small business, Apple Barn Knits, out of her home. Her display featured cute sweaters for babies and toddlers, hats that looked like frogs and more.

“I don’t do this to make a whole lot of money,” she said. “I do it because I love it.”

Basner said it has been a “slow year” for sales.

“I think it’s the aftershock of the bad economy — and people are freaking out,” she said.

Other crafters, such as Morning Star Wolf of Palermo, seemed to be having a better day. She sold baskets made of sweet grass, longleaf pine needles and ash, calling on her Passamaquoddy and Cree heritage.

“It was very good business,” she said of the fair.

Diane Kimball’s table looked like an 8-year-old girl’s idea of Christmas morning. The Northport crafter and seamstress makes clothes for the ever-popular American Girl doll and also makes miniature beds for them fitted with colorful mattresses and blankets.

“I started last year,” she said of her shift from making children’s clothes to clothes for the dolls. “I did very well.”

Jerry Bilodeau’s table looked very different from the delicate ruffles and doll clothes around him.

The Belfast artisan makes turkey calls and was decked out in head-to-toe camouflage for the fair, his fifth time at Mount View.

“I would have thought everybody and their cousin would already have a turkey call,” he said, “but I’m still selling a bunch of them.”

Adding a bit of international flair to the show was the high school’s German-American Partnership Program. German language students had made paper crafts, gingerbread houses and more to sell and raise money for their exchange trip to a town near Cologne, Germany.

Peter Nutting, the program coordinator, said they’ve been making the cross-ocean trip since 1996.

“I think it’s a wonderful tradition,” he said.

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