October 24, 2021

Craft fair supports local vendors, Living History Center

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

Alice Jump sits behind her drawings of famous Wild West women Satuday during the craft fair hosted by the Central New York Living History Center in Cortlandville.

It only seemed fitting that David and Barbara Reif stopped by Saturday’s craft fair outside the Central New York Living History Center: both are members and both enjoy craft fairs.

“I think it’s great and I think it’s fantastic the museum opens up to the public,” David Reif said.

The Reifs and others strolled underneath the center’s carport, exploring and buying handmade items from local vendors, and a jar of elderberry peach jam.

The center typically has indoor craft fairs in November and December, but had to cancel those because of the coronavirus pandemic, said Cindy Stoker, the executive director.

Setup fees paid by the vendors would support the museum while vendors got a place to sell locally.

“It’s a win-win for both of us,” she said.

One of those vendors was Nancy Schroder of Cortlandville. Schroder sold fabric items including casserole carriers, hand sanitizer carriers, and grocery-cart handle covers, all homemade.

She said business was “a little slow”, as it was cold and lightly raining, “but I think it’s going to pick up a little bit when the weather gets better.”

As a local craft vendor, she said business for her has slowed during the pandemic as events have been canceled. For the ones she could attend, it has meant bringing hand sanitizer to wipe down her table and staying away from patrons. Nevertheless, she felt that the pandemic shouldn’t get in the way for vendors like herself.

“You can’t stop,” she said. “You have to keep going. You have to keep trying. There’s hope out there.”

Heidi Pooler of Homer said every bit helps local vendors.

“Everybody is all in the same situation right now,” she said. “If you can do even $5, it helps somebody.”

Pooler said she was driving along Route 11 when she saw the fair and decided to check it out.

She said she wasn’t sure what she wanted to buy, but she wanted to see everything.

“I think they all have very wonderful products here,” Pooler said.

David Reif shared Pooler’s sense of helping out local vendors and businesses.

“I think we should support anything in our community,” he said. “Whether it’s in Homer, Cortland, the outlying areas, anything. It just helps all the way around for everyone.”