Henry County Extension Holiday Bazaar

Family works together
to create hand-crafted items

Strothers will set up to sell
their wares at Henry County event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (November 2012) – Even though many miles may separate them, Kris Strother and her family know how to have a good time. They get together once a month to create crafts that are budget friendly and great for gift-giving.
The family members say they like the experience they receive when doing things for others. The inventory of their hand-crafted items may change from year to year, but one of their ongoing best sellers is lighted glass wine bottles.
“These glass bottles are our most unique thing,” said Strother, 46. Made from a variety of wine bottles, their finished creation looks like an unopened wine bottle. They drill into the bottle, place white or colored lights inside and attach grapes on the outside of the bottle for added flair.
The family plans to set up to sell the glass bottles and other hand-made items Nov. 10 at the 20th annual Henry County Extension Holiday Bazaar in New Castle, Ky. Shoppers will be able to browse more than 30 booths from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the 4-H Building at the Henry County Fairgrounds located on Hwy. 421.
The Strother family makes a variety of hand-crafted décor items, which are all “very affordable,” Strother said. Her parents, George and Florence Kolb, also help craft items. Both are in their 70s and live in Milton, Ky. The family has participated in “Light Up Bedford” holiday event and at various school and church crafts shows in the Louisville area.
Strother and her family are originally from Illinois. She moved from Chicago to Louisville in 1997 because of her job.
Before moving to this area, her daughter’s school had a craft fair, and Strother participated by revamping a Girl Scouts craft to sell at the fair. The idea for it really took off, and it became the catalyst for Strother and her parents and siblings getting together to craft items for future shows.
“We like getting together and hanging out,” Strother said. The family has done so since 2000. They do not create items to make money, but rather they do it because “it’s about making people feel good.”
Maryellen Garrison, Henry County Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences, said, “The purpose of the event is to provide an outlet for local arts, crafts and small business people and to capture Holiday Season shopping dollars before they leave our county for the malls of our urban neighbors.”
The Extension Office began the event, which was originally the idea of Joyce Meyer, an active 4-H leader. Over the years, Garrison has received many comments from patrons and vendors testifying to the fact that it is a well organized friendly event that can invest some dollars into Henry County businesses and organizations while supporting local crafters and artists who may not have an outlet for their work elsewhere.
Most members of the Henry County Arts & Craft Guild participate in the event, but vendors do not have to be a member to participate, said Garrison.
“We also allow small entrepreneurs who sell things that they do not make participate.” An example would be jewelry or candles, some of which are handmade and some commercially made.
This event also provides the opportunity for non-profits to raise funds for their organizations, Garrison said. “Through reports from our participants, we estimate that the bazaar keeps over $15,000 in shopping dollars in the county.”
Another vendor new to this year’s event will be the Migliacci family. A homeschooling family, the Migliaccis have used their crafting skills to fulfill home economic requirements for school credit as well as create a product to sell to the public.
The family had a positive experience by attending the Henry County Harvest Showcase in July and decided to attend the Holiday Bazaar as a result. For the last two years, father Nick Migliacci has crafted planters, picnic tables and smaller utilitarian items from wood. Originally from Connecticut, he creates some of his own patters for the items he makes.
But all family members pitch in to help. “My daughter Bella has got a creative mind,” said Tracy Migliacci, originally from Ohio. The Migliaccis decided to settle in Kentucky to raise their large family.
Bella, 12, does the embroidery on felt lapbooks and purses. “Each items is an individual,” said Tracy Migliacci. “She can embroider designs and personalize items.”
Son Moses, 11, makes cedar rulers. Proficient at knitting, the family also crafts American Girl doll accessories such as mittens and booties, coasters, dishcloths and potholders.
The Henry County Cooperative Extension Service has been working with several groups to help create new markets for local farmers and crafters, like the Migliaccis and Strother, Garrison said. The Extension Service works tirelessly with the “local chamber of commerce, the Henry County Arts and Craft Guild, the Henry County Farmers Market and the Holiday Bazaar to expand the opportunities to ‘Shop Henry.’ ”

• For more information, contact the Henry County Extension Service at (502) 845-2811. Lunch will be available on site.

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