VINCENT - More than 1,000 people from around the Mid-Ohio Valley and beyond attended the annual Warren High School Band Arts and Crafts Fair at the school on Saturday.
"This year everything seems to be bigger than last year - attendance seems good and the vendor areas are packed," said band director Courtney Clark.
Event organizer Heather Sammons said the more than 140 vendors who turned out Saturday was over the maximum number the organizers had expected.
Photo by Jolene Craig
Mother and daughter Kay and Ashley DiLuciano of Cambridge, Ohio, talk to Jewelry by Elaine owner Elaine Huck in the gymnasium of Warren High School on Saturday during the school band’s annual arts and crafts fair.
"We had trouble trying to figure out where to put everyone, but we were able to do it and I'm getting great feedback from vendors," Sammons said. "We also have new vendors and some from as far away as Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia and all over Ohio and West Virginia."
Each year for more than a decade, vendor Margie McConnell, owner of Precision Arts and Crafts, drives her products the more than four hours to Warren High School from her home in Lima, Ohio.
"This is just a very, very nice craft show," said McConnell. "I've come here every year for the last 10 or 12 years and people know me now."
McConnell said her Christmas- and winter-themed crafts with wood cutouts of showmen and decorated trees also appear to be popular with the local buyers.
"People remember us and say they had one of my pieces from a couple years ago and things like that," she said. "The people are very nice and friendly and they buy a lot, which keeps me coming back."
Sammons said while many vendors were ready, at least one newcomer underestimated the crowd and how popular their work would be and ran out.
"Between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., they were pretty much done," Sammons said. "That shows how crazy it was."
The roughly 30-year-old event is the band's biggest fundraiser of each year and is held by the band boosters each November, Clark said. Admission to the event was $3 per adult, $1 per child ages 6 to 10 and free for 5-years-old and younger. To help supplement the money raised at the door, band and choral boosters also sold food and baked goods.
The money raised not only comes from the admission price and food, country store and raffle but also crafter booth fees. All proceeds go to the band, which is primarily booster-funded.
"Our goal each year is to raise about $10,000 and we always meet it or come very close to it," said Clark. "Really, we don't have a set goal, but since it's our biggest fundraiser, we always look for it to raise a lot of money."
The funds raised during Saturday's event will not only go to pay for items needed, such as drum heads and mallets, but also travel costs for the band to get to away football games, competitions and parades, Clark said.
"People don't realize that we have to pay for every bus we use and the gas," he said. "Even school buses cost us."
Although the band takes school buses to away football games and many competitions, they have to pay the district for the use of those vehicles.
"It's little things like that, things people don't realize we have to pay for, that add up," Clark said. "We are very appreciative of the support we get from the community for this fair."
The funds raised on Saturday will also go towards the band's trip to Indianapolis, Ind., next week for the annual Nationals Marching Band competition, which runs through the weekend, he added.
"This is our largest fundraiser and always equals or surpasses the total of our other fundraisers," Clark said. "This craft show is everything to us because it allows us to do everything we can in a season."
The final number on amount raised was not available at press time.