Black Friday lurks eight days over the horizon, but for many Mainers jumpstarting their Christmas shopping, Sweet Saturdays occurred Nov. 3 and Nov. 10 as the 2012 craft-fair season kicked into high gear.
And there are a few more such Saturdays to come.
The Nov. 1 issue of The Weekly listed 21 craft fairs, village fairs, rummage sales, and a giant yard sale, with these events taking place on different weekends through Dec. 9. Several craft fairs took place on Saturday, Nov. 3, and people turned out to find unique gifts.
At the Dedham Congregational Church, shoppers came and went from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In mid-morning, Dee Frederick of Dedham dropped by the basement-based craft fair; a teacher at the Dedham School, she ultimately bought a Thanksgiving-themed centerpiece from Hocus Pocus Gift Baskets.
Foot traffic was steady, and as at other craft fairs, shoppers were ready to buy. Marilyn Holyoke of Dedham displayed many crafts, such as outhouse ornaments and figure skates painted with holiday scenes and filled with Christmas greenery. According to her husband, John, she sold “just about everything she had out.”
Over at 31 Main Road in Eddington, shoppers jockeyed for parking spaces next to the North Brewer-Eddington United Methodist Church, where the Angels Everywhere Holiday Fair took place. Crafters spread their tables through the church basement and into upstairs rooms.
By late morning some tables contained open spaces where shoppers had cleaned out available inventory. One crafter reported that “we had a lot of people here first thing”; with its high-profile location on Route 9 just over the town line from Brewer, the church rated high on many shoppers’ “must-see” lists.
Even as the Holly Jolly Fair wound down at the First United Methodist Church on Essex Street in Bangor, shoppers stopped by to find clothing, gifts, and other items. With Hurricane Sandy still swirling gray clouds and cool temps over the Penobscot Valley, this craft fair tempted shoppers to warm their insides by featuring a café that offered hot coffee or tea and hot food.
Many shoppers carefully planned their craft-fair excursions. Dedham residents Marie Albert and Robin Whitney started their day at the Dedham fair and sequentially stopped at others before reaching the Holiday Marketplace Craft Fair at the Anah Shrine Center in Bangor.
“It’s a great way to find gift ideas you don’t see in the stores,” Whitney said as Albert contemplated buying a pillow shaped like a Rhode Island Red hen. Albert explained that she raises such chickens.
Peter and Judy Nevells traveled from Eastbrook Nov. 3 to browse at the 24th Bangor Arts & Crafts Show, sponsored by United Maine Craftsmen and held at the Bangor Civic Center. They browsed the aisles for about two hours and made some purchases.
“You find stuff that’s custom-made and one of a kind, all hand-done,” Peter said. For a daughter who owns a Bernese mountain dog, he bought a delicate glass Christmas ornament with a Bernese painted on it. The crafter added the appropriate dog name to personalize the gift.
The Nevells looked at furniture featuring exquisite designs made by Bob Rodzen of Bob’s Scroll Saw Art in Madison. Peter Nevells works outdoors year round, so he purchased warm mittens made by Mitchy’s Specialty Mittens in Ellsworth. Judy Nevells stopped at the Colorfest Quilting exhibit and checked out the quilted items made by Carol Halteman of Orono.
After taking Route 179 to Route 9 in Aurora, the Nevells had driven along Route 9 to Brewer. “We passed several smaller craft fairs along the way,” Judy said