Fair keeps prices low, demand high | SteamboatToday.com

Fair keeps prices low, demand high

Holiday gifts available at Saturday's 28th annual Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair

Margaret Hair

It took just a few weeks for the 80 booth spaces at the 28th annual Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair to fill up, as vendors from across Colorado vied for a spot at the holiday craft sale that began as an outlet for a few Yampa locals.

“It originally started with a couple of ladies in town,” said Nita Naugle, who for years has helped organize the event with the Yampa chapter of Order of the Eastern Star. “There were no rules then; you just came and set up wherever you wanted to in the gym. And it just kept growing and growing and growing.”

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, more than 60 vendors will fill the gym at South Routt Elementary School, offering a variety of products, including fine art, painted glass, handmade jewelry, food items, photography, baby clothing, fabric art and holiday ornaments.

“We keep our prices down. We have everybody from the senior citizen that does this as a hobby to those that this is their livelihood,” Naugle said.

The Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair booth fee is $14 – larger craft fairs can charge vendors more than 10 times that. The low price means the fair keeps a steady waiting list after spaces fill up.

It also gives community organizations a chance to participate.

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“That’s why we fill up so fast,” Naugle said. “Our vendors know to get their application back to us as early as possible.”

Some organizations buy more than one vendor space, and some bring a number of craftspeople to their booths – the Hayden Marketplace and the Historical Society of Oak Creek come with items from several local and regional artisans.

“If I actually got to counting bodies that had stuff presented there (at the craft fair), I don’t know how many there would be,” Naugle said.

Jalynn Hoffman, who lives outside of Steamboat Springs and sells her ceramics at several craft fairs throughout the year, said the small town atmosphere of the Yampa event keeps her coming back.

“I like the community feeling. It’s not like the big city bazaars – you know people and you get to talk to people,” said Hoffman, who has brought her ceramic Christmas trees and wildlife to the Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair for 18 years. “It’s such a tradition after so long, because I do a lot of other shows too.”

Yampa Arts & Crafts Fair vendors sell their products at a wide price range, with items available starting at about $2, Naugle said.

“It can be anything from $2 or $3 up to several hundred (dollars),” she said. “The price range just starts low, and it covers the gamut. Whoever you’re shopping for, you can find a gift for them.”

Yampa’s Edith Chapter No. 61 of the Order of the Eastern Star will sell lunch at the craft fair. Proceeds benefit community organizations at the local, state and national level. There will be a free raffle for gift baskets at the craft fair door, and Santa will visit the event at 3 p.m.