Saturday, the St. Michael Albertville Woman of Today held their annual spring craft fair. Crafters from all over the state set up show in St. Michael Middle School West – filling the entire gym and the adjacent hallways. You name it, they were selling it. There were clocks made out of old CD’s, handmade jewelry and soap, unique bottles filled with flowers and strung with lights. There were crocheted kitchen towels, handmade doll clothes, laser cut metal signs, laser cut wooden signs, educational books, puzzles and toys of all kinds.
In addition, local businesses and independent home sale consultants were intermingled among the booths. In between blinged up sweatshirts and furniture, you could shop for energy drinks, a new Realtor or a new line of skin care products.
With more than 140 crafters and businesses, it was a shopper’s paradise.
In addition to handmade craft selections, concessions were available, with proceeds going to the Women of Today.
“We served our secret recipe homemade sloppy joes – it always sells out!” explained Peggy Kaufman, STMA Women of Today President. “And if you don’t like sloppy joes – we also sell hot dogs, and pop and chips – we have something for everyone!”
Asked what sends them onto the craft fair circuit to sell their wares, Scott and Angela Lambert of Becker, who own ExtremeMetalArts.com explained, ‘This is our first time here, but we are enjoying it. We love meeting people and explaining what we do. We can do any design – just send us a silhouette – any picture you like – and we can cut it into metal. It’s a fantastic, one of a kind personalized gift!”
The ladies of Women of Today have this craft fair down to a science. The night before the show opened, the group spent two hours preparing the gym floor and concession area. They have bought enough high quality floor tarp to cover the entire gym – eight separate pieces.
“The middle school required this tarp, to protect their floors. We guard it carefully as it’s hugely expensive,” said member Chris Goodin.
That is just one element of a successful preparation. Nearby, charter member Goodin smiles as she finishes labeling the spots on the floor for each crafter.
Women of Today is a national organization of service minded women, joined together for fun and philanthropy.
St. Michael-Albertville boasts one of, in not the, largest most thriving chapter in the state with 47 members. This is due to the enthusiasm of the leaders, many of whom have been with the organization for years.
“We’ve been a chapter since 1984 and have hosted the craft fair since about 1986," long-standing member Lynn VanDenBroeke tells us.
The Women of Today hosts a larger craft fair in the fall, and a kick off spring craft fair in March. Typically the spring fair is smaller, but both can be considered highly successful.
“We come to the Women of Today fairs [there is also a fall/winter show] because they are so well-organized,” shares Jennifer Larson of Buffalo. Her booth of lighted décor bottles is a popular spot. “It’s our fourth year here and we come back because they do such a great job advertising and running the day.”
“I’ve been a seamstress for 27 years, but this is only my second year as a crafter” shares Mark Knudson of Watkins.
Her wares are handmade appliance covers, dishtowels, aprons and other decorative items. She proudly displayed her range of fabrics, highlighting all the major sports teams and well as the perennial seamstress favorite of John Deere print.
Shoppers shared with us some of the reasons they make it a point to attend the Women of Today Craft Fair each year:
“They are very organized. It’s always clean, always well run,” one said.
“They have a huge selection and the items are different. Sometimes you see 10 booths with exactly the same item. Not so here, and they mix it up so you are not walking by the same thing several times in a row.”
“I get my teacher thank you gifts here each year. That way I know they’ll be unique.”
Vendor "assistant" Dale Nygaard relaxed in a lawn chair as his wife sold her hand quilted items nearby. He shared why he follows his wife to these events and enjoys them.
“Well I’m retired, so I can get out, meet some nice folks, take myself a little nap if I need to, and the wife makes herself a nice little chunk of egg money," Dale said. "Not too bad for a Saturday afternoon."
The Women of Today meet the second Tuesday of the month at Lake Community Bank in Albertville.