By Karen Hutchinson-Talaski

Staff writer

HERMISTON — 'Tis the season for bazaars!

Holiday bazaars are springing up all over the place this holiday season. Many of those hosting holiday bazaars are aiming for the gift purchasers rather than holiday decorations. Holiday Decor and More at the Hermiston Community Center and One-Stop-Shop at Walchli's Farms this weekend were good examples of that.

Both had good turnouts this year, according to organizers. Debbie Pedro and Tracy Kosmos were the organizers behind Holiday Decor and More on Saturday. For the price of a non-perishable food item donated to Agape House, shoppers could browse the 31 vendors at the community center. Everything from jewelry, candles, herbs, seasonings and wood-turned bowls and vases greeted shoppers. Many of the vendors come to bazaars every year.

Pat Fines, who makes crocheted kitchen towels does 12 bazaars a year. She has been on the bazaar circuit for the past eight years.

"It took me two years to find out what sold well," Fines said, "From Nov. 1 of last year to February 1 of this year, I sold 254 towels."

Fines does well at every craft or bazaar she attends. She says crafting keeps her out of trouble and keeps her arthritic hands agile. Another bonus is she meets lots of people.

"I meet a lot of people I wouldn't meet if I stayed at home," Fines said, "It's great to see people you haven't seen for awhile."

Fines is in charge of the craft show that will be held during the Festival of Lights weekends at the Umatilla County Fairgrounds.

"People will have someplace to warm up while they wait for the hayride," Fines said, "There will be hot chocolate and people can buy things, too."

This was the first show in Hermiston for Dan Vandenberg of Lakeview. Vandenberg's daughter lives in Hermiston so he came up here to visit and sell his decorated wooden sleds and wooden steer heads.

"I am just getting started," Vandenberg said, "I did one show a year before I retired. I just retired from being a painting contractor. We are enjoying ourselves."

Darlene Karsten and Linda Fetrow of Keystone Candles do bazaars to make money, but also because, as Karsten says, "I like making candles."

Karsten said she likes coming to bazaars to see all the crafters and to see people she hasn't seen in awhile.

"I get to see people I haven't seen in a year," Karsten said, "It is great to catch up with other crafters."

Keystone Candles has been in business for three years. Karsten said the up front costs for candle-making were high, so it wasn't an easy investment at first.

"The upfront investment was costly," Karsten said, "but I like candles so much, it is worth the money."

Dixie Verstoppen of Heppner is retired and crafting handmade towels, dishclothes and pillow cases gives her something to do.

"It keeps me sane," Verstoppen said, "I wouldn't do anything if I didn't do what I do."

Carol Hastriter of Hermiston makes large gourds into works of art. Her gourds aren't just the typical birdhouse; she makes decorative bowls and vases using beads, raffia and colorful paint.

"I have been doing this for about a year," Hastriter said, "I took a gourd painting class and made a birdhouse. It just took off from there."

Hastriter says she is not afraid to experiment with colors and beads. Holiday Decor and More was her first show.

Tawni Willis of Umatilla goes to craft shows because of the people.

"I get to know people," Willis said, "Even if it is a bad day, it is a good day because I get to see people I haven't seen in a long time."

Willis makes decorative wreaths, key chains, bookmarks, and candy dishes made from flower pots and glass. Many of her designs incorporate themes such as "Vegas Granny" or animals.

At One-Stop-Shop at Walchli's Farms, organizer Tracy Hunter said there were 33 booths, which is their maximum.

"We would have to open the other shop (at Walchli Farms) to put them all in," Hunter said.

Hunter said the bazaar was packed with shoppers, which is good for the vendors and the Sixth Grade AA girls' basketball team. The team sold soups, meatballs, soda, and desserts Friday and Saturday at the bazaar.

"They covered their costs on Friday night," Hunter said, "so all day Saturday, it was all profit."

The girls were raising money for jackets and expenses to travel this basketball season.

Hunter said they had a wide range of items for sale. Jewelry, fleece blankets, handmade cards and stationery, ceramics, iron sculptures and other items were sold at the bazaar.

"Everyone did very well," Hunter said, "It was great." This is the second year for One-Stop-Shop. Hunter wants to keep it an annual event.

Pedro said she and Kosmos had a great time, too. This was the first bazaar for them.

"We want to make this an annual event," Pedro said, "A place for local artists to show off their work."

Pedro said they were able to donate two barrels full of food to Agape House, thanks to the generosity of those who attended the bazaar.

"We will definitely do this next year," Pedro said.

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