By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
“Christmas is coming … the geese are getting …” and you know the rest of this happy holiday song. Artists and craftsmen from 14 states are getting in that same anticipatory joyous spirit as they ready their wares for display and sale at more than 180 booths at the fifth annual “West Virginia Arts & Crafts Christmas Spectacular”, set for this weekend at the Ruby Community Center at Mylan Park in Morgantown. With more than 10 thousand attendees expected at the 50,000-sq.-foot exhibit hall, crafters are as busy as Santa’s elves this time of year. Their finely hand-crafted items include those made from wood, ceramics, fiber, artwork, floral, soft sculpture, glass and wax media.
The event, sponsored by Family Festivals Association of Irwin, Pa., will feature traditional, folk and country designs, with a large collection of home decor and accessory pieces, organizers said. There will be thousands of varieties of items, from holiday decorations and jewelry to gourmet foods.
Two area vendors said they’re again this year very excited to be a part of this holiday extravaganza where the craziness of Christmas shopping can, instead, become a party.
Shannon Kellar, of Shinnston and part owner of Gameday in the downtown area, said she’s very excited to participate to showcase her Origami Owl Living Lockets and other accompanying pieces, such as earrings and bracelets, at her second year at the festival.
“Everybody is smiling and in the Christmas spirit there,” she said. “It helps jump-start the Christmas season for me.”
Kellar said the lockets are glass, and the customer chooses charms to put in them that have special meaning and memories.
“My locket has (inside it) my three boys’ birthstones, a wedding ring, representing my marriage, and a cross,” Kellar said. “It’s customized jewelry you create yourself to tell your own story.”
Because everyone has a different story to tell, she said, “Your locket is different than mine.”
Customers also have a variety of metal colors from which to choose – silver, gold, rose gold and black, Kellar said. In keeping with the festival theme, she also has seasonal-styled charms and pieces.
With such a large turnout and plenty of customers at her booth before, she said, “I was more than satisfied with how I did last year.”
Victoria Vincent from Fairmont said it’s her third year to exhibit her wooden, indoor-outdoor, free-standing Christmas Santas, snowmen, angel snowmen and candy canes. She also creates other Christmas decorations and gifts for the giving -floral arrangements using wooden boxes and jarred candles. Primitive stuffed dolls are also among her selections.
Vincent said she loves being part of the proven-successful festival.
“It’s one of the best shows around … a big variety of crafters from many areas,” she said. “You have a lot to choose from. And there’s great food, music and Santa.”
Vincent said she, too, enjoys the tinseled, holiday atmosphere and that the festival is a wonderful way to get your Christmas shopping done in a fun, less hectic way.
“It’s so festive with all the lights and Christmas decorations. It’s a great way to get out and have a Girls Day Out,” she said.
Free live music performances by the Morgantown High School Women’s Jazz Choir will be offered twice on Saturday. And “DJ Ed” will be cranking out tunes on Friday and Saturday, according to event organizers.
Hours for the event are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both Friday, Nov. 14 and Saturday, Nov. 15; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16. Mylan Park address is 500 Mylan Park Lane.
Admission is $5.50 for adults, $5 for seniors 65 and older, $1 for children 6-12 and free for children under 6. Fees are one-day only but allow unlimited trips to vehicles in the parking lot. And parking is free!
For more information, call (724) 863-4577, or visit their website at www.familyfestivals.com.