BY TOM LAVIS
Christmas comes early at the Community Arts Center of Cambria County.
The center is finalizing plans for its 42nd rendition of the Holly Bazaar.
The bazaar offers people a shopping alternative when it comes to finding handcrafted decorations and gifts for the season.
The Holly Bazaar will fill every gallery of the Goldhaber-Fend Fine Arts Center.
The festivities will begin Saturday at the arts center, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.
The Holly Bazaar will be open daily through Dec. 24, except for Thanksgiving Day when the arts center will be closed.
“This offers visitors a one-stop shopping opportunity,” said Rose Mary Hagadus, the center’s executive director.
“We offer mom, dad and the kids a chance to explore the arts center as a way to usher in the holiday season.”
The fundraiser kicks off the holiday season and offers new and hard-to-find items.
The Holly Bazaar also features a basket bonanza and the annual book sale of new and used items.
The bazaar features holiday-inspired works by 90 artisans.
“This is a juried event, so there is a strict standard that must be met,” Hagadus said.
New to the bazaar will be a demonstration by Georgia Wild of Somerset, author of “Learning to Crochet with Glass.”
Wild will demonstrate how to use glass beads in crocheting jewelry, scarves, place mats and ornaments.
These are techniques that Wild developed to enhance crocheted needlework. By embedding glass stones into crocheted work, crafters looking for a challenge can create intriguing designs and fashions.
On Saturday, visitors will be able to view the woodworking skills of Dale Thompson of Upper Yoder Township.
He will display his Sam MaLoof designer-style rocking chair. It is a piece of furniture that can’t be found in stores.
MaLoof, whose simple, elegant wooden furniture made him a central figure in the postwar American crafts movement, died in 2009 at age 93.
Thompson said creating the clean lines of his rocker require a labor-intensive technique.
“I would estimate that I have 240 hours of work in the chair, which is only the second one I have made,” Thompson said.
“MaLoof set the standard in fine furniture making, and my first rocker was made from black walnut, which I sold for $2,000.”
Woodcrafting also will be featured by John Sinosky of Westmont, whose new birdhouse ornaments were desired pieces at area festivals.
Sinosky also will display new designs for his miniature toy tops that are enjoyed by children and adults.
Decorative painter Sande Staib of Westmont has been bringing her works to the bazaar for years and finds the show the perfect place to find the unusual.
“All of the items are handcrafted, ensuring that no two pieces will be alike,” said Staib, as she arranged several of her works on a display table.
She specializes in ornamental boxes, wall plaques, card boxes and game boxes in interesting patterns and seasonal flair. Prices start at around $25.
“Look around and you see no two pieces alike from the other artisans or craftsmen,” she said.
“And the variety is special, ranging from hand-painted shutters and old furniture to wreaths and a child’s rocking chair that would delight any youngster.”
Hagadus said other items run the gamut of holiday decorating from fabric art to tole painting.
“Something new to the bazaar are the wreaths, centerpieces and angels made of cornhusks by Sharon Boyer of Berlin,” she said.
A cornhusk angel costs $38 and the wreaths are priced about $99.
Upstairs at the arts center will be the basket bonanza that will feature 90 baskets filled with desirable items.
“This number of quality baskets wouldn’t typically be found at other basket parties in the region,” Hagadus said.
“Baskets range in value from $50 to $200, with many containing chances to take home cash.”
A $5 ticket gives a person 25 chances to win. As an added incentive, a person can purchase a second ticket for $4 and get an additional 25 chances.
“These baskets are all donated, and businesses and people have been remarkably generous,” Hagadus said.
“That’s important to recognize because there are many other organizations who approach these people for support, and we do appreciate it.”
Nestled among the baskets is the Holiday Wonderland, featuring five three-dimensional wooden Christmas trees, which will be featured in a silent auction.
“These trees would enhance anyone’s home as a holiday decoration,” Hagadus said.
Sally Fink of Westmont will be on hand from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 1 for a signing of her “Ten Thousand Gods: Book One in Tales of the Lalloure” in the first-floor book room.
Bazaar hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
What: 42nd Holly Bazaar.
Where: Community Arts Center of Cambria County, 1217 Menoher Blvd., Westmont.
When: Saturday through Dec. 24.
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