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Bellingham Children’s Craft Fair ready for 47th year

Max Oviedo draws a caricature of Aviva, left, and Elisha Foster during the annual Children’s Craft Fair in 2012. This year’s fair will be Friday, July 31.
Max Oviedo draws a caricature of Aviva, left, and Elisha Foster during the annual Children’s Craft Fair in 2012. This year’s fair will be Friday, July 31. The Bellingham Herald

Browse handmade wares and watch youngsters hone their entrepreneurial skills at the annual Children’s Craft Fair sponsored by Bellingham Public Library.

Now in its 47th year, the fair will be 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, July 31, on the lawn behind the library at 210 Central Ave. Shoppers will find tables and booths staffed by children age 13 and younger ready to sell their wares, including crafts and baked goods.

“It’s one of our favorite days of the year,” said Bernice Chang, children’s library specialist. “It’s such a fun thing to see these little entrepreneurs. You can tell a lot of thought goes into how they’re going to sell their products.”

Besides the fun of making their crafts and products to sell, participants keep all of the money they make, because entry is free.

The fair is also free to attend, and items for sale must be priced at $4 or less.

“It teaches kids how to handle money and be around business,” Chang said. “They’re making money and having a good time.”

Usually, about 70 booths are at the festival. This year, the library is on track to have about 80.

The library received multiple calls from people months in advance wanting to know when the fair would take place so they could plan their vacation schedules around it, Chang said.

“The program basically runs itself because the kids are basically doing it,” she said. “They’re the ones that give it the variety and make the program different every year.”

Kids have sold such items as bookmarks, magnets, jewelry, and baked goods. Food items must be individually wrapped, however, and drinks are not allowed to be sold.

This year, some of the booths currently registered are set to sell such items as origami, duct tape creations, clay charms, and hats.

“The best thing is just seeing how creative kids get,” Chang said.

Kids who have participated in the fair before seem to improve as years go on, she said. By seeing and learning from other booths, kids can improve their own designs and sales techniques.

The fair is just as fun for adults, who enjoy browsing and buying the kids’ creations, Chang said.

“I love seeing kids make stories or comic books,” she said. “We’ve (also) had kids make cat toys before, and I love getting those.”

Chang encourages participants to bring plenty of small bills and change for their booths, as well as bags to carry items purchased during the event.

While the weather forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70s, if rain does decide to make a surprise appearance, the fair will be rescheduled for Friday, Aug. 7.

Reach Robert Mittendorf is currently on vacation. Libby Keller can be reached at 360-715-2242 or libby.keller@bellinghamherald.com.

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