BREWER, Maine — Shoppers of all ages could be seen milling around the United Maine Craftsmen sale held over the weekend at the Brewer Auditorium, purchasing items for themselves and as Christmas presents.
All of the items for sale were made or grown in Maine, and included everything from steel bent into a snake to paintings, pillows, bonsai trees and handcrafted pottery and jewelry.
Jams, jellies, dips, seasonings and huge chunks of fudge were available for those desiring edible items, and most vendors provided samples so shoppers could taste what they were purchasing before forking over their cash.
“We bought some dips” after trying a few different types, Orrington resident Sandy Vilasuso said, while her daughter, Ashlee, 8, stood nearby. “Her and I like to do crafts so we wanted to come and look around.”
“We also came here for ideas,” Ashlee Vilasuso said.
The duo said they purchased Christmas presents and other items.
Lauren Wilderman of Portland overheard two women at the Bangor Mall talking Saturday about the United Maine Craftsmen sale, and so she headed to Brewer with Nicholas Littlefield.
“I drug him along, and he got more than I did,” she said while Littlefield was looking at jewelry for his sister at the ArtJewel Designs booth.
The couple ended up getting a bonsai tree, jewelry and seasoning rubs.
Most of the jewelry at the craft fair was silver or gold, some made with Maine pearls and others featuring Maine gemstones, but Bob and Terry Bedard of Dixmont had jewelry that might be unique to Maine: They had earrings, necktacks and swizzlesticks made from deer droppings.
Yes, that’s right. Deer droppings.
“You have to have a sense of humor,” said Bob Bedard, wearing one of his muskrat skull bolo ties while standing in his booth filled with other antler and skull jewelry.
Ellsworth resident Trisha Bonness said she combined the trip to the craft fair with a trip to the grocery store. Her husband went shopping for food, while she enjoyed looking at the Maine-made items.
“It’s a nice show,” she said. “I’m a little picky” but picked up Christmas presents including pottery and pressed flowers. “It’s that time of year.”
Bonness also is a crafter and will be knitting nine hats, two pairs of mittens and four “writtens,” or fingerless gloves to give out during the coming holiday.
Donna White of Hermon, show director for the United Maine Craftsmen, said the group has a good reputation with shoppers because of the high-quality items created by the artisans. A total of 67 crafters displayed items in Brewer over the weekend.
The group typically has six or seven shows a year in Maine, and will end the season with the 31st Holiday Arts and Crafts sale at the University of Southern Maine gym in Portland, Dec. 6-7.