WILLSBORO - A special fundraiser held at Willsboro Central School this weekend will help a new garden club there blossom.
The Adirondack Artisans, Crafters, and Farmers Guild is participating in a craft fair at the school Nov. 14, the inaugural event for the newly formed organization.
Linda Therrian, an organizer for the event, said the guild formed because many crafters, like herself, have been frustrated trying to sell at craft fairs that tend to feature more and more mass-produced or retail items.
"It's not acceptable to us," said Therrian. "We work hard at what we do. People who come and shop at these craft fairs are getting ripped off. We want to be able to guarantee that whoever is standing there at that table has made what's on that table."
Therrian, who also manages the seasonal farmers' market in Willsboro, said this craft fair will also be unique because it will allow producers of local food to participate.
"When the farmers' markets end in the fall, most craft markets don't allow anything from farmers' markets to be sold there," she said. "We felt it wasn't fair that they've allowed us for over 20 years to be a part of their markets, and yet we've excluded them."
More than 30 vendors have signed up for the fair, pledging to bring wooden bowls, pottery, furniture, art and photography prints, jewelry, and more. Farmers will be offering vegetables, pork, chicken, jams, maple syrup, and baked goods.
Therrian approached Willsboro school superintendent Steve Broadwell in August to request use of the school as a craft market. Broadwell suggested running it as a school project to benefit the "Bloomin' Veggies," a school garden club recently established by teacher Charmaine Flynn.
"I've always wanted to do it," said Flynn. "It just so happens the school was recipient to it."
The club has been active for the past year, establishing six raised beds behind the school. Garlic and onions have already been planted for next year's harvest.
"Everything we have right now has all been donated," explained Flynn, including lumber from Hugh Goff, soil from John Sheehan & Son Excavating, and Egyptian Walking Onion bulbs from Scott Sayward.
Proceeds collected from the craft fair vendors fees will raise funds for the Bloomin' Veggies. With more than 30 vendors paying $20 each for their 10'x10' space, the event will raise more than $600 for the club to use as seed money; literally.
Flynn said the funds will likely be used to expand the garden and add more vegetables, including beans, tomatoes, herbs, beets, and even some lettuce.
"We'd like to get to the point where we are supplying our cafeteria with all the vegetables we need," she said.
Flynn said the garden has been a useful teaching tool across all grade levels, whether it's elementary students learning how to measure out straight rows of veggies, middle schoolers learning about the "three sister" crops, or high school biology students measuring the pH level of the soil.
The craft fair will also serve as a fundraiser for Willsboro's freshman class. They will be selling hot dogs and michigans to fund their efforts for "Operation Christmas Card," a project that sends holiday cards to U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cards will be available at the craft fair for attendees to sign.
For more information on the craft fair, contact Willsboro Central School at 963-4456 or Linda Therrian at 963-4383.