In order to help local artists, as well as area folks, People Helping People is holding its first craft fair — The Chilhowee Mountain Craft Bazaar Show and Sale — on Saturday, Feb. 2, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 2, at the People Helping People and Kidz XChange Plus, both located at 184 Mull Road in Benton.
The location is large — the old Benton Manufacturing/Flea Market building next door to Burgess Feed and Hardware on Hwy. 411 — making it large enough to hold a crafts fair indoors, so no worries about the weather — hot, cold, rain, or even snow, no worries — for either the customers or the vendors.
“It’s a large, old factory,” Poteet said, “and it takes a lot to heat and cool it.”
This crafts fair is one way the folks at People Helping People hope to raise some funds to continue to help people in the community.
But those interested in being vendors need to hustle, because the deadline for artist registration is Jan. 26 — just a week before the actual crafts fair.
“We’ve had a good response so far,” she said, “but we have much more room.”
This crafts fair also is unique in that it is being held at an unusual time of year, because most crafts fairs are held in the summer and fall.
“This one is right before Valentine’s Day, Easter and Mother’s Day,” Poteet said.
So far, a variety of vendors already have signed up, selling a variety of items, from homemade soap to honey and bees wax products and candles, homemade crocheted items to jellies and jams, and various other homemade and handcrafted items, such as quilts — 30 booths in all.
And, 25 percent of these booths are dedicated to home-based businesses, including the kitchen items, a jewelry-maker, a caterer, and a coffee business.
Proceeds will go to help People Helping People, which describes itself as a Polk County nonprofit assistance organization, keep up and running.
“We don’t receive any funding from anyone, but our sponsors and from fundraisers,” Poteet said.
People Helping People allows anyone who stops by to pick up a bag of certain needed items once a month, in addition to other possible help.
“Last year, 10,484 people were served,” said Dianne Poteet, a volunteer at People Helping People. “They got monthly assistance, as well as help from the crisis room, and also the medical room.”
People Helping People also now offers a small thrift store, plus a collectible corner with more vintage items.
“I do a lot of arts and crafts myself,” Poteet said, “and so do a lot of people in Polk County. But there aren’t a lot of venues for artists to sell their wares (in the winter).”
She takes gift boxes and fashions them into greeting cards, which is has found are very popular at the crafts fairs she’s attended.
“All kinds of craft people of very talented crafts people are going to be there,” Poteet said.
And if all goes well, People Helping People hope to continue holding crafts fairs later this year as well.
For more information, call 423-299-9062.