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Orland Craft Fair provides holiday shopping
By Susan Meeker
Kellie Varga wasn't looking for anything in particular when she strolled through the Glenn County Fairgrounds on Saturday, but she knew she would find something.
With more than 250 vendors at the 37th annual Orland Craft Fair selling everything from hot pepper jelly to fine art, the Chico resident said she never started her holiday shopping anywhere else.
"I started coming here about 25 years ago with my mom," said Varga, whose first purchase was orange sherbet fudge from Sweets Plus to get her in the mood. "It's sort of a Thanksgiving weekend tradition."
Varga wasn't the only one who felt Orland's annual weekend event offers more than any other craft fair around.
The event is one of the largest craft fairs along Interstate 5 and brought in thousands of people on Saturday and Sunday, said Betty Critchfield of Gridley, who also makes going to craft shows a tradition.
"The difference between this show and others — like Colusa — is that they don't let in all the commercial dealers," Critchfield said. "There are crafters here who put a lot of love and time into their products, and it shows."
Sponsored by the Orland Historical and Cultural Society, the fair offered a variety of Christmas-related items, handcrafted art, candles, jams, jellies, wood decor and even metal and iron furniture.
Nut Crocker Sweets of Willows was among many vendor famous for their tasty concoctions, as were 2 English Ladies, Skylake Ranch Pomegranate Products and Terri Sue's Toffee of Chico.
Sara Schneider of Galaxy Crafts of Corning has been selling her father Robert Boyd's creative designs at the Orland show for several years.
This year, Galaxy Crafts was back with a new product: Bugs made from wire and beads.
"We met a lot of nice people," Schneider said. "It's good to share our bugs with them. Each bug has their own personality, and they make you smile."
Beth Lohman of Colusa, who offered personalized dough ornaments and her mother's painted gourds, said she has been crafting with her daughter for about five years.
"It's something that keeps us doing something together," said Lohman.
Like most vendors, Lohman said Orland's show is among the best, and has the most traffic.
Some of the vendors sold out early on Saturday and had to replenish their stock for the Sunday crowd.
The good weather may have played a part in the event's success, said organizer Olga Peterson.
Vendors also make every effort to keep prices low, which is an Orland Craft Fair tradition, she said.
Although most people left the gates of the Glenn County Fairgrounds with bags of goods and treasures, plenty of people found reasons to give and well as receive.
Groups like Orland Soroptimists and Rotary, Orland Food Pantry, Orland Heroes Project and area schools were among the 20 or so vendors that raised money for good causes at the event.
Volunteers from different organizations manned booths and directed traffic in the parking lot.
"I actually graduated last year, but I still wanted to help out," said Cristina Calva, who sold hot-dogs for Orland High School Community Connection program. "I'm happy to do it and I still live in Orland.
The Orland Historical and Cultural Society sponsors the Orland Craft Fair each year, with proceeds going to its signature projects like the Alta Schmidt House Museum and Heritage Trail.
CONTACT Susan Meeker at 934-6800 or email@example.com.