Products bring home holidays

Craft fair brings more than 30 regional vendors today

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When Routt County Woolens started hosting the predecessor to the Hometown Holiday Shopping Gala almost a decade ago, the products' source material was the event's centerpiece.

"It's kind of morphed from the shepherds' reception when the sheep came, and they were the stars," said Nancy Mucklow, co-owner of Routt County Woolens. The company would unveil its seasonal blanket at the event and introduce the wool producers and their livestock. "We'd put down the tarp there on the floor, and they (the sheep) would sit there and eat their hay and just say 'Hey' to everyone."

As the company has grown to offer more wool products, the event has grown into a holiday shopping event, Mucklow said. It's also lost the woolen mascots. This year, Routt County Woolens is working with Northwest Colorado Products to bring in more than 30 local vendors of art, crafts, gourmet foods and other products. The Hometown Holiday Shopping Gala is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. today at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Admission is free.

"Over the years, it's morphed into this great little local products shopping gala," Mucklow said. Nancy Kramer, project coordinator for Northwest Colorado Products, said about half of this year's Hometown Holiday vendors are members of the regional business group.

"It provides an avenue for our producers so that they can start to find a way into the market," Kramer said. Northwest Colorado Products aims to create a market for locally produced items and provide retail opportunities for locals and visitors. Kramer said Hometown Holiday provides a chance for vendors to share ideas and to bring their items to a retail setting.

"I think it's great, because the vendors share a lot during these events, and it will help each of them to network," she said.

- To reach Margaret Hair, call 871-4204

or e-mail mhair@steamboatpilot.com

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