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Craftmakers find niche at Holiday in Homer

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Woodturner Dan Romagnoli, of Syracuse, demonstrates his craft Saturday at Holiday in Homer by carving a pepper grinder while wearing a wooden cowboy hat.

Susan Shilliff packed up her daughters, Elise and Hadassah, and the product of thousands of workers — bees — to promote her business Saturday at Holiday in Homer.

It was the first time Shilliff, of Gridley Hollow Honey Co., has appeared at any local festival in the 20 years Gridley Hollow has been in business to sell honey products. She decided to give it a try after walking around Holiday in Homer last year and seeing no one was selling honey.

“It makes people aware of local honey, as opposed to the kind at the supermarket,” Shilliff said.

She was among 100 craftmakers selling their wares at the annual craft show, in its 36th year, on the Homer Village Green in front of the Homer Congregational Church under a light drizzle and cloudy skies.

Jim Withers of Cortland enjoyed the horse-drawn wagon rides and the food — funnel cakes and grilled chicken and more. His wife Alice, liked the feeling of small-town America.

“It’s good to see small town values still alive,” she said. This was the eighth year at the event.

Chuck Feiszli, a church trustee who works the event, said despite the light sprinkles, there was no concern at all the festival would get rained out.

“The last one to get rained out was 15 years ago,” Feiszli said.

The number of vendors at the festival has been consistent over the past 10 years, he added.

“People come back every year because they know their favorite vendors are here,” said Russ Pedersen, another church trustee.

Amanda Darling, the owner of A Darling Design in Groton, made her first appearance at Holiday in Homer. She sold home-sewn bags, drink koozies, storage pouches and pillows with designs from nerdy TV shows and movies on them, like Star Wars, Doctor Who and The Walking Dead. She has been doing this since 2008, when she bought her sewing machine.

“I hope to get more people who are into nerdy stuff to come out to the event and see what other vendors are here,” Darling said.

Andy and Jessica Demko, the owners of Country Joy, came from Huntington Mills, Pennsylvania, to sell their wood decor, cabinets and shelves. The wood Andy uses comes from old, torn-down houses and barns.

Going to craft festivals like this are the Demko’s livelihood. They appear in at least two a month, including one in Greene next month.

“We used to have a store, but now we just do festivals,” Jessica said.