The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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November 21, 2012

SALS to hold Christmas Craft Show in Oak Hill

OAK HILL — Holiday shoppers in Fayette County need not look any further than their own neighbors’ craft bags to do their part in a season of gift-giving.

With the shopping madness of Black Friday approaching, several communities are hosting craft fairs that offer an opportunity to forego the major retail chains and instead buy local, handmade gifts for loved ones.

In the process, residents can support small cottage industries and also give their own gifts to local food pantries and school children in a time of abundance for some and need for others.

This weekend, the Southern Appalachian Labor School (SALS) is holding its first ever Christmas Craft Show in Oak Hill.

“This gives people an alternative to going out to the big stores (...) We want to promote more locally-made things,” says Erica Horton, a VISTA volunteer with SALS.

Many of the crafters who have signed on are themselves local people who make candles, primitive crafts, jewelry and crochet.

The weekend-long event will be hosted at the Historic Oak Hill School at 140 School St. in Oak Hill, which the organization is trying to develop into a hub of community activity. It evolved from a suggestion from a community member.

“We have people coming in to see the building as it transforms into a community center and we’ve had suggestions from different community members. Someone said, ‘Why not a craft show?’” says Horton.

In addition to crafts, the event features concessions from the facility’s certified food kitchen in the school’s old cafeteria.

Activities run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

A $2 admission fee will support the work of SALS, which works to build affordable housing in Fayette County, train and educate local workers, and provide other community services. The Oak Hill facility is also considered an emergency shelter, says Horton.

In lieu of the admission fee, guests can donate non-perishable food items.

Horton can be reached at 304-465-4246.

“We are hoping that we get a good turnout by crafters and shoppers so that we can do this as an annual event,” she says.

- - -

Just up the road, Fayetteville has also scheduled its yearly Christmas Craft Show, which runs from noon to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the Memorial Building on Maple Avenue.

Organizers say the event will feature 30 vendors, door prizes and a giant Christmas stocking give-a-way. Santa will be on hand all afternoon to take requests. And guests are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the local food pantry.

The town’s Convention and Visitors Bureau has lined up a whole day’s worth of activities for the Light Up Your Christmas Festival, beginning with Breakfast With Santa at Cathedral Cafe from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

A Christmas parade begins at 5 p.m. with lighted mini-floats and marching bands. Then the Fayetteville United Methodist Church offers up a free Community Chili Feed at 6 p.m.

For more information, call the Fayetteville Convention and Visitors Bureau at 304-574-1500.

- - -

At either fair, residents can pick up hats or gloves to donate to another charity event focused on the children in Mount Hope.

The Mount Hope Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization is seeking to provide each student with a hat and a pair of gloves for Christmas. The goods will be distributed to students at a Sit with Santa party on Dec. 19.

Donations are due by Dec. 14.

Contact Jessica Zukowski  (859-200-7221 or Zukowski.Jessica to arrange for collection, or drop it off at Mount Hope Elementary on any school day between 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.

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