Meridian Star

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October 31, 2013

Annual Homemakers Arts and Crafts Show and Sale this weekend at Frank Cochran

MERIDIAN — By Ida Brown

    A pre-holiday arts and crafts show and sale that has been held annually for nearly three decades is set for this weekend in Highland Park.

    The 29th Annual Homemakers Arts and Crafts Show and Sale will get under way Saturday and Sunday at the Frank Cochran Center. The weekend extravaganza will feature a wide variety of items: quilts, jewelry, birdhouses and other woodwork items, paintings, children's clothing, baked good, jellies and jams ...

    "And it's all hand made," said Edna Manley, office associate for the Lauderdale County Extension Service.

    Sponsored by the Mississippi Homemaker Volunteers Council, Lauderdale County, the two-day event started out as a fund-raiseer for area homemaker clubs.

    "The purpose was to provide an outlet for supporting their income once a year," Manley said.

    According to organizers and longtime participants, the arts and crafts show and sale has now become more of a social gathering – a reunion of sorts for those who have participated or attended over the years.

    Held at the Mississippi/Alabama State Fair Grounds in its early years, the fundraiser eventually moved to its current location. In addition to a different venue, the annual event has experienced several other changes during its 29-year-history.

    Previously, each homemakers club decorated a tree with ornaments made by the members. The trees were judged and the ornaments sold. The competition was discontinued to allow for more booth space, explained Patty Swearingen, county director for the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

    Another change is that vendor participation is no longer limited to the homemakers clubs. Anyone can purchase a booth, however all items sold must be homemade.

    "While most of the vendors are from Lauderdale County, we also have vendors from others areas of the state, such as Jackson, and Alabama," Manley said.

    More than 90 booths will be set up throughout the Cochran Center; additional vendors will be set up outside. The admission charge is for inside the center.

    "There's is no cost to shop outside," Manley said.

    Proceeds from admissions will go toward scholarships as well as local community service organizations, including LOVE's Kitchen, Feed by Faith and Care Lodge.

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