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Spring Fling Craft Show Review

by Joyce Johnson

Intro: Ron and I drove out of Emigrant at 5:30 a.m.—with only a little sleep because of all the excitement, risks & details involving shows—to get a good parking spot in front of the entrance doors at the fairgrounds in Livingston, for the two-hour setup of his jewelry and my art stuff. I passed the time waiting for the doors to open by reading out loud to Ron the “ssssnake season approaching” report on the front page of the Community Journal. It was a good eye-opener but I must say this in support of our local rattler residents. I daily walk the “semi-bush” of Paradise Valley and have only seen one rattlesnake in 33 years! It had expired. They are smart, and stay off our paths, unless... um... why did the snake cross the road? It was a risk, but life is.

Spring time in the Rockies is weather-fickle, a risk for outdoor and indoor craft shows but loaded with benefit to the community. Having participated in, and helped sell with Ron for 33 years, I appreciate that it takes a great deal of planning and energy to put on one of these events. Not only do the hosts provide the space, advertising and organizing for our innovative and talented locals to share their stuff—and Park County has a lot of artists—these markets bring community together which is primo now. Also they are just slam dunk fun. Many of us besieged the gods to simply push the predicted rain and snow to after the event, please, so the event would better attract it’s local friends and customers out of cabin fever.

It never hurts to ask, and so be it—only token snowy mist fell mid-afternoon, and nearly 500 people attended, many children attended, kids in strollers, babes in arms, and a sweet little Shih Zhu too. There were 54 vendors in the Main Exhibit and Dining room of the Fairgrounds. It turned out to be a very successful exchange of product, gifts, food, great encounters, and a sparkling social event inside, warm, and windless!

The raffle table was “just hopping!” said the volunteers for the Park County Rural Fire District. I snooped and saw with delight several tickets in the little bag collecting raffle bids for my rock portrait of Gandalf. Later they pointed me to the winner so I cornered her and said that I hoped the dear old wizard was going to a worthy owner. She smiled and nodded. The hot dogs and coffee were as promised awesome, and by the time I got to the coffee, it was strong as King Kong. I loved LuLu’s Market and the wood puzzle-like art displayed. The doughnut lady was across the isle from me and I finally surrendered to her pretty little baked donuts that kept calling out my name, and bought her assortment while chatting about a favorite job of mine: icing donuts in a bakery at 18, (and eating too many). But Daisy Donuts are in fact half the calories, grease-less, avante-garde donuts and Ron told her it’s police food. Oh yeah!

Right across the isle, was a very sharp… display of an amazing knife collection called, Resurrection Steel by Scott Boahler. But I confess I fell in love with his little dog who didn’t know she was missing a leg but who knew her way around shows and now and then crossed the isle to greet other vendors. (Probably the secret of Scott’s sales.) My other booth neighbor was a unique potter named Patti of “Moonstone Clay Creations.” Early on I joined a couple other women who were looking at her beautiful ceramic pieces in wonder. They thought I was the owner, and I thought one of them was, and we all laughed. My other neighbor’s craftwork covered 2/3s of the north wall, Grammy’s Kreations of dozens and dozens of big and small gnome dolls in every possible costume from kid’s teddy bear gnomes, to doctor, lawyer, Indian Chief, and football star gnomes. We talked how crowded was our homes with craft and art supply. I came to halt at a feather art booth. I’ll call her Chandra the Birdlady. She said she’d make earrings for me out of the dropped brilliant crimson tail feathers of our late Congo Grey, “Coo.” We were back to back with Woody’s neck and anklet wear, which I ended up with two of. Then I saw a fundraiser for the shelter. The homemade fudge was yummy, buttery little bites of energy that I needed to get through the day, greeting old friends with hugs, and enjoying enlightening them with gemstone wisdom, and puns from Ron which I believe is his secret to selling. I escaped our tables frequently and walked the big room talking to vendors and collecting business cards and taking pictures to document it all. I learned the stories of many vendors and could write a column for every one of them. Perhaps as the season expands, the Journal can promote them all.

Thank you Livingston for your encouraging, and cheerful attendance and spirit. And to Christy the Show Boss, and helpers, for the endless work that went into providing us with the venue and much praise to the vendors for hours and years of creativity, faith, planning, displaying and getting up at the crack of dawn. It was just one big, sparkling day, like magic, and the best of us.


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