By LISA HOOVER
POTSDAM -- The St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce’s Craft, Food, and Wine Show will include a host of new vendors as well as past favorites this year. Highlights will include handmade gifts, lots of food, and clothing and accessories.
The show will return to Cheel Arena Friday and Saturday, Dec. 13 and 14, according to the chamber’s website. Nearly 120 vendors are expected to participate, with wares ranging from jewelry and Amish baskets to wines from local vineyards.
Highlights will include several new vendors, offering items from furniture, to metalworking, to handcrafted items and jewelry, according to the chamber website. Returning favorites will include Amish baskets and a soap vendor from Colton.
The show will open Friday at noon and run to 8 p.m., reconvening Saturday at 9 a.m. and ending at 5 p.m.
Spruce Mountain Designs will offer Adirondack themed jewelry, according to Jo Ann Roberts, events and promotions manager at the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce.
“I can tell you, I have several folks that I know that find out the dates and take the Friday off so they can be there when the doors open,” Roberts said. “I get calls from people all over the Northeast looking to get into this show.” Roberts said the waiting list has roughly 30 vendors hoping for a spot on the Cheel Arena floor.
This year’s event will also feature a non-profit group, Gina’s Gift, for the first time. The group donates new books to all newborns at Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Roberts said.
St. Lawrence County NYSARC clients have also handcrafted items for sale at the show.
This year’s event will also feature a new vendor, Green Mountain Mustard, all the way from Richmond, Vt. “I told them we don’t have a mustard vendor, so that would be cool,” Roberts said.
The event will also include the most ever wineries, up to six this year, she said.
Other food vendors will include fudge, cheesecakes, nuts, jams, maple syrup, and even cotton candy, she said.
The event promises to offer “a little more unique stuff,” Roberts said, mentioning a bronze forged metalworker and hand blown glass items for sale.
“Fishing has been the big thing in St. Lawrence County this year,” she said. Down by the River crafts will offer fishing lure jewelry “for the fishing enthusiasts.”
The event is always a hit, and has been growing from year to year. “Last year we had 5,400…that was a record,” Roberts said. The event drew 5,000 in 2011, and 4,100 the year before that. “The show has consistently grown,” she said.
“We’re looking to break that record yet again.”
To capitalize on that growth, the camber has taken over an increasing amount of Cheel Arena for the event. “We have had vendors in the lobby of Cheel, and they will be there once again,” Roberts said. Many vendors will be on the arena floor, but the show is also expanding and “adding another 10” vendors on the walkway about the seats, Roberts said.
The show was originally started by Clarkson University with the “Autumn Craft Fair” about 30 years ago, Roberts said. Then “four or five years ago they were looking to get out of” hosting the event and “decided to partner with the county chamber.” The chamber changed the name and added the food and wine focus, and watched the event gain in popularity, Roberts said.
Overall the event is a great place to pick up Christmas gifts or “even last minute things, or hostess gifts,” Roberts said.
The event is later than last year, but not outside the normal date range, said Roberts. “It’s different (every year), it could be October, November, or December.”
“We have to wait for the Clarkson hockey women’s and men’s game and practice schedule to be set,” she said. “We get whatever is left.”
“We weren’t even sure they would have a date for us this year,” she said. “Ideally we’d like the dates earlier…before people start their Christmas shopping,” she said, “but we’re stuck with whatever we get.”
Roberts is hopeful that parking will be more convenient this year. “Parking has always been an issue in the past,” but the college kids will mostly be gone for Christmas break, she said.
Admission will be $3.
A complete list of vendors is available at northcountryguide.com/News/Story.asp?ID=71.