A tradition for many years in Philomath signaling the approach of the holiday season has been the Philomath Frolic & Rodeo Holiday Craft Fair. This year’s event is coming up on the weekend of Nov. 6-7 at the local elementary school.
Chris Workman, an event organizer who serves on the Frolic & Rodeo’s board of directors, hopes folks will take advantage of the opportunity to “buy local, buy unique” — a slogan that he came up with for this year’s fair.
“I think the nice part of one of these craft fairs is you get something that was made by somebody that’s local, at least regional,” Workman said. “It’s an opportunity to buy something that was handmade and is one-of-a-kind. And that’s kind of cool.”
The craft fair will run from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 6 and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7. Philomath Elementary is located at 239 S. 16th St.
For several years, the craft fair had been held in Philomath High’s gymnasium but moved to the elementary school in 1997. With the event expanding significantly in size, it moved back to the high school in 2018. However, Workman said that PHS was not able to accommodate the event this year, so it has returned to the elementary school where it will be set up in the gymnasium/auditorium and cafeteria end of the building, including possibly up on a stage as well as out in the wider hallways.
As of the middle of this week, the craft fair had close to 80 vendors “and we usually add several right at the end,” Workman said. “So I think we’ll be right up close to that 100 mark as far as the number of vendors go.”
In the past, Oregon State football has impacted Saturday attendance. The Beavers will play a road game on Nov. 6 that won’t kick off until 4 p.m. — the fair’s final hour that day.
“When the game starts, it kind of dies down a little bit and when the game’s over, it picks back up again,” Workman said. “But we have good foot traffic all day Saturday and all day Sunday — it stays pretty busy.”
The holiday craft fair was canceled last year because of COVID.
Workman said the event has been a positive experience for its vendors with many of the same people returning year after year.
“They look forward to it and a lot of these vendors are at different craft fairs every weekend,” Workman said, adding that there are always a good number of first-time participants as well. “The fact that we have so many come back every year tells us we must be doing something right and they’ve been making money.”
Beyond arts and crafts, the event will also feature a few food vendors.
Workman said vendors interested in setting up a booth or table can still register with the cutoff date on Tuesday. To register, click here. Participants can begin setting up their spaces on the Friday before it goes live on Saturday.
Portions of the proceeds from the holiday craft fair are given to help support other local nonprofits, school clubs and teams. The funds also support the Frolic & Rodeo’s scholarship program.
“We give a scholarship to our rodeo queen at the end of their reign every year and that goes for college, tuition, books, etc., so we put money towards that program,” Workman said.
The Frolic & Rodeo board is also looking at adding a high school scholarship to be awarded this spring.
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