The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 24, 2012

Christmas comes early

BECKLEY — Christmas is now in full swing at Tamarack, as jolly old St. Nicholas arrived Friday, greeting both travelers and locals alike.

Two sisters, Mary Lou and Ann Henderson, from Pennsylvania and Maryland respectively, were visiting their family for Thanksgiving and decided to do some shopping at Tamarack Friday.

“We come every year. We do as much Christmas shopping here as we can,” Ann said laughing, as she pointed to her eight gift bags lined up on the counter.

As she asked for her total, the cashier told her if she spent a few more dollars, she would receive a $100 discount.

Ann excitedly added another item to her treasure pile and said, “That’s what you call ‘spaving.’ You know, you have to spend to save!”

The sisters said some of their favorites at Tamarack are the handcrafted jewelry, the dried flower arrangements, and the fried trout from the food court.

Just around the corner from the Henderson sisters were two artisans demonstrating their crafts.

Woodcarver Dewain Gregory, of Buckhannon, said he’s been carving on and off since 1985.

He’s been showing his work since around 1997 and started showing at Tamarack about eight years ago.

His table displayed Christmas ornaments, as well as stand-alone pieces, all of which are hand-carved and hand-painted.

At the next booth down, another woodcarver was busy at work.

Andy Sheetz, of St. Albans, has been creating toys, furniture and gift items for the past 10 years.

“I did woodwork with my dad and I’m still a kid at heart,” Sheetz said.

“I love working with my hands. It beats sitting around watching TV,” he said with a laugh.

He works with Valley Woodworkers, which is a club that teaches woodworking skills and makes toys for the Salvation Army.

Valley Woodworkers make up to 800 toys a year to donate to the Salvation Army, including ABC block sets, wooden tool kits and wooden planes.

“It’s wonderful to give back, but it wouldn’t be possible without the community support.”

He said the club receives grants and West Virginia Forestry donates much of the wood materials.

The works of these artisans and many more can be found on display at Tamarack.

Tamarack is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information about upcoming demonstrations and special events, visit www.tamarackwv. com.

— E-mail: wholdren@register-herald.com

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