Holiday Farmers’ Market puts fresh spin on creative crafts

Bob Lavendusky, Lawrence, stares down a bison head mounted on the Holiday Farmers’ Market booth of Lone Star Lake Bison Ranch & Meat Co.

Creativity is the name of the game at the Holiday Farmers’ Market, when vendors get to ratchet up their normal fare and add some extra flair, just in time for the holidays.

“All of our vendors kind of have alter egos that we bring to the holiday market,” says organizer Amy Saunders of Amy’s Meats. “Everything is still local and handmade, but we all get to bring a little bit of our creativity, whereas there is not so much the fruits and vegetables and things like that.”

About 70 vendors will be on hand for the Dec. 13 market, which runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 2206 E. 23rd St. In addition to the items for sale, “Santa might pop in,” Saunders says.

“We’ll have hot food there, drinks and things that you can snack on and then do all your shopping and support the local (producers), keep your money local,” Saunders says, adding that unlike the outdoor market, weather won’t be much of a factor. “We’ve done it in snowstorms and we’ve had rain, and everybody stays in good spirits and people come out, and we really, really enjoy it. If you can get out and it’s safe to drive, come see us.”

And though there won’t be as much of the fresh bounty most customers are used to seeing at the spring/summer/fall market, there will be quite the variety of items, perfect for holiday gifts, says Saunders. She ticks off several items she expects, including baked goods, local meats, Christmas ornaments, soaps, facial items, dried wreaths, tea, candies, chocolate and knitted items.

In other words, there will be a lot of the items available at the traditional market. But, unlike at the outdoor market, there’s more flexibility on rules that usually prohibit vendors from selling anything that included store-bought items. That leads to the creativity to which Saunders alluded.

“If you want to sell knitted gloves, then you need to raise the sheep, shear the sheep, spin the yarn and then dye it. You have to have that whole process there in order to have something like that,” Saunders says of the traditional market. “Whereas at the holiday market, we allow vendors to purchase some of the items that they need to make the products that they sell.”

For Jack Wilson, who runs Washington Creek Lavender with his wife, Kathy, some of those items are too good to pass up. He said at their first holiday market last year they ended up using the profits they just made on other vendors’ items.

“You find that when you’re at the market (as a vendor) that you’re spending your money there as well,” Wilson says. “We’ll end up at the market after we’re finished, doing the market walk around, saying, ‘We’ve got to get some tomatoes and we’ve got to …’ and so you end up spending some of your profits. Which is the way it should be. It’s a great community.”