Fall arts and crafts show is longstanding Grayling tradition
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
The baton for hosting a fall arts and crafts show was passed to the Grayling Promotional Association (GPA) nearly 20 years ago, and the event, which helps spruce up shoppers’ homes and provides an opportunity to purchase early Christmas gifts, has grown.
The Mercy Hospital Auxiliary initiated the fall arts and craft show, which was held in the hallways at the Grayling High School.
The organization opted not to host the show in 1999, when GPA members stepped up to the plate.
“We decided to take it over because we didn’t want to lose it,” said Sherry Hanson, who served as chairwoman for the show for seven years.
The show was held again at Grayling High School for another year, and was then moved to Grayling Elementary School since there was no guarantee the high school would not hold sports games or other events when the show took place.
“They’ve been awfully good to us at the elementary school,” said Barb Bowers, a GPA member who served as chairwoman of the show from 2006 to 2015. “The kitchen has provided wonderful lunches for us. The maintenance people help us move stuff out of the way. It’s a big deal.”
This year, GPA’s fall arts and craft show will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7, at the Grayling Elementary School.
The show supports other events and business in Grayling by being in town.
“It benefited Grayling to have it in town – definitely,” Hanson said.
For the last several years, the show has been held in conjunction with Grayling’s Harvest Fest on the first weekend in October. GPA plans to host the show on the same weekend for the foreseeable future.
“Vendors make their reservations a year in advance and they go all over,” Hanson said.
The show draws people to sell their wares from throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Michigan.
“It’s a juried show,” Bowers said. “It has to be all handmade materials. We don’t have vendors who come in and buy things and sell them.”
Between 800 to 1,000 people typically attend the show, which is advertised throughout the region.
“There are a lot of people who love to come to craft shows, particularly in October,” Bowers said. “They can do Christmas shopping and that kind of thing. They do come from all over.”
Just $1 is charged to attend the craft show, which along with fees charged to vendors funds GPA projects and other community organizations the group supports.
“That money also goes toward all of the GPA projects,” Bowers said.
GPA member Alice Snyder took over the reigns of the fall arts and craft show in 2015.
“You need new blood and new ideas,” Bowers said. “A lot of work goes into this show. It doesn’t just happen.”
The show is the second largest fundraiser hosted by GPA, behind the Festival of Trees, which is held in the Grayling Mini Mall to get people in the spirit for the holidays.
The show is not a high-end art show with items people can afford to buy and enjoy looking at, with more practical items such as knitted mittens.
“There is always something new every year,” Hanson said.
Members of the GPA marked their 30th year promoting the community as a tourist destination, supporting local organizations, and hosting community events in 2013. The group currently has 60 members.