‘One of the best in a while’


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ACFairPUPPETArts.Craftscmyk.jpg

Jordan Hatchcock of Great Bend said she couldn’t be happier with her new marionette puppy she purchased Saturday at the Hillsboro Arts & Crafts Fair.

 

“We were completely full, but with more vendors wanting a double booth
this year, it cut back on the number of vendors we could have had,” she
said.

“We had close to 45,000 people attending this year’s event,” said Dan Kinning, Hillsboro’s chief of police.

Renee Gilkey, director of the fair and Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce staff member, said there 301 vendors came this year.

“We were completely full, but with more vendors wanting a double
booth this year, it cut back on the number of vendors we could have
had,” she said.

“We had close to 45,000 people attending this year’s event,” said Dan Kinning, Hillsboro’s chief of police.

Renee Gilkey, director of the fair and Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce staff member, said there 301 vendors came this year.

“We were completely full, but with more vendors wanting a double
booth this year, it cut back on the number of vendors we could have
had,” she said.

In addition to calculating the numbers of people visiting, Kinning said he also looked at other aspects of this year’s fair that made it successful.

“The good weather played a major factor, but we also had no reported thefts, no traffic accidents, no residential parking complaints and no reports of serious injuries,” he said.

The emergency management team responded to three or four calls of people falling, but nothing major, he said.

“We had wallets turned in, still with credit cards and cash, which were returned to their owners,” he said.

Some years haven’t always been as relaxing as this year was. “A couple of years ago, it was raining and cold, which hurt the turnout,” he said.

After 9/11 in 2001, Kinning recalls attendance was down, because of the fair’s timing the third week of September.

The fair has had other ups and downs in the past several years, he said, including gas prices soaring or the economy plunging, but the fair continues to survive and grow with the times.

Now in its 40th year, new and old exhibitors alike were involved.

“We had 68 new vendors to the show this year, and for six of those, it was their first show ever,” Gilkey said.

One of those new vendors included two women from Joplin, Mo., who had hand-crafted ceramic items.

Chris Lorenzen and Sylvia Moore were first-timers who said they heard about the Hillsboro show from another vendor at Fort Scott’s Good Old Days.

“We weren’t sure if we would be accepted or not,” Lorenzen said. “We sent our application, photos of our crafts and a detailed explanation and then we waited to hear.”

The Missouri women said they were surprised and thrilled when the committee accepted their application.

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ACFairSLEEPY.Arts.Crafts0161.09.23.jpg

It’s hard to believe that anyone could have slept through the Arts & Crafts Fair Saturday, but it seems the noise and traffic from thousands of people walking and talking on Main Street didn’t seem to bother this man who napped in his booth.

Among some of the more unique crafts were lamp shades made from neckties, lawn creations using welded steel to create bobbing birds and other fun items, puppets and a new idea in picture framing using rods.

Shanna Rumburg with Shanana Rama of Oklahoma City, Okla., brought her electric potter’s wheel and demonstrated her skills throughout the day.

“This is our first arts and crafts fair,” she said, “and we are having a lot of fun.”

Gilkey said she had a lot of good comments from crafters.

“The majority said they were glad to be in Hillsboro and that this is their favorite show,” she said.

Like Kinning, Gilkey agreed the weather couldn’t have been better.

“I am thankful for a wonderful fair day and to all the people who helped make it such a success,” she said. “If I tried to list all the volunteers that gave of their time and efforts, I might miss someone, because the community volunteers numbered into the hundreds.”

Gilkey did want to thank Marcella Mohn, who she said was her “right-hand woman” throughout the weekend. Mohn is assistant fair director.

In addition to the vendors, downtown businesses also reported having good-sales days.

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ACFairTrinity687.jpg

Trinity Mennonite Church was one of many local food vendors to benefit from the throng of hungery fair-goers.

As for the total sales from this year’s event, Gilkey said exhibitors have 10 days to get their reports completed and turned in to her office.

One woman walking by with wooden chairs in one hand, soaps, jewelry and a rain gauge in the other, summed up this year’s fair saying, “There are a lot of talented people around here.”

With another successful year behind the committee, plans are already gearing up for 2010.

Anyone interested in helping with next year’s fair is encouraged to call the Arts & Crafts Fair board at 620-947-3506.


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