Fair offers food, crafts

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If you're looking for an arts and craft fair this weekend that mixes local artisans, great food and a visit from Santa Claus, then you need to head south.

The 25th annual Yampa Arts and Craft Fair will bring more than 80 local and national artisans to display their works from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Yampa Elementary School.

The fair, which is sponsored by the Eastern Star's Edith Chapter No. 61, will be offering a $5 lunch, with all proceeds going to help fund community service projects. Complimentary gift basket drawing tickets will be given at the door. Fair organizer Nita Naugle said about four to seven gift baskets are handed out to fair-goers every year.

If you're planning to make the drive to Yampa, make sure you're there at 3 p.m., because a certain jolly man in red will be arriving with special treats for the children.

"Every year, our fair changes, and every year, we have even more variety than the year before," Naugle said. "We think having Santa come to our fair is pretty special."

This year, artisans from across Routt County, Colorado, Utah and Arizona will be displaying arts including woodwork, pottery, window painting, ceramics, wreaths, cards and even dog accessories, such as personalized sleeping bags.

"We really do have something for everyone. There also will be things available for all price ranges," she said.

Naugle said she encourages people to come to South Routt not only for the fair, but also to experience all the local shops and restaurants in Yampa and Oak Creek.

"It makes a good road trip for a lot of people. If you have the mind set for it, you can spend a great day down here," she said.

"We get people from everywhere," she said.

Naugle said fair organizers charge a lesser booth fee so most artisans are able to discount their art and pass those savings on to customers.

"So many of the items we have are great for gift giving. Plus, you can find something that will fit in your budget," she said.

The fair began 25 years ago, when two local women decided to get together and have a two-booth arts and craft fair. Since then, the Eastern Star has taken over the fair and expanded it to its current size.

"We used to only need the school's gym, but every year, it kept getting bigger and bigger, and now we have had to spread out all over the school," she said.

Naugle said that locals and visitors look forward to the fair every year especially because lunch is provided and there are things for the entire family to do.

"This fair always has just kind of happened on its own. If we didn't plan it, people would still come and say, 'OK, we're here. Let's do this,'" she said.

--To reach Alexis DeLaCruz, call 871-4234

or e-mail adelacruz@steamboatpilot.com

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