The Windham Athletic Boosters hosts its 22rd annual craft fair this weekend. The fair is one of the boosters largest fundraisers of the year and this year, the coordinators have put together a gym and more full of crafts, food and collectables.
“We have over 130 crafters, and we keep adding,” said coordinator Ellie Butts. “The items range from photography, jewelry to knitted items that were handmade or reps from Silpada, Scentsy, 31 and Jamberry. And homemade foods.”
Santa will be in at the craft fair, since he hates to miss this event. There will also be face painting.
“We are a non-juried craft fair. We have other vendors here that can’t be in juried fairs,” said Ellie. “We’re very family oriented here. Even our kids help.”
“All the set up and take down is done by student athletes and other school groups,” said co-coordinator Tanda Butts, Ellie’s sister-in-law. The students get volunteer hours toward the graduation requirements and parents earn booster hours so they can present cords to their athlete senior year. They have been organizing the fair for seven years and have set a goal to organize it until the year 2020, when Tanda’s youngest child graduates.
“It’s a busy, crazy time. It’s fun for the people who are doing it,” said Ellie. Ellie controls the chess board that organizes which crafter sets up in which space. She organizes it so no two similar crafts or products are near another one and as new crafters are added, it’s back to the board.
“We love seeing our crafters year after year,” Tanda added. This year there are a lot of photographers and jewelry. “We are always looking for new crafters.”
At this craft fair, everything is reasonably priced giving shoppers a great bargain on their holiday shopping. One of the stipulations for the crafters is that they must have enough product to sell all weekend. There is no closing up early, Ellie said.
The boosters makes money by telling the tables are $85 each, selling concession all of which are donated by parents and a 50/50 raffle and drawings through the weekend. The money is used to support the athletic teams and the needs that are not met by the athletic budget. From scholarships and enrichment to luncheons for playoff teams and T-shirts when they make it to the championship finals, the boosters are there to help the teams. This year the boosters bought a new eagle costume for the mascot.
“We are reasonably priced and so accommodating,” said Ellie.
The fair is Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Windham High School. Saturday is a busy day with the crowds gathering around every table and Sunday is a bit more relaxing, Ellie said.
There are other fairs happening on Saturday, one at the Windham Historical Society and one at the Windham Hill Church. “It’s a craft fair weekend,” said Ellie. It’s good for the customers to have all of the choices, but for crafters, they sometimes are torn between which fair to sell at. The Windham Athletic Boosters craft fair is scheduled for the first full weekend of November every year.
“Try shopping, you’ll come back,” Ellie said.
“It gets everybody excited for the holiday season,” Tanda added.