, Muskogee, OK

November 25, 2012

Organizer: Craft show draws about 1,000

By Travis Sloat
Phoenix Correspondent

— Jonita Mullins likes to say if she could charge for compliments, she’d be quite wealthy.

Mullins and her mother, Violet, were two of the many vendors who spent their weekend in the Muskogee Civic Center at the third annual craft show, headed up by Cassandra Gaines, the director of the Civic Center.

“All of our stuff is handmade,” Mullins said. “We do quilts and needlepoint. Honestly, we’re just a couple of ladies who like to sew. This is our first craft show in several years. It’s been decent, but definitely not a barn-burner.”

Gaines said it hasn’t been easy trying to drum up interest for an event that was held in the past and abandoned, but she’s working hard on getting it back to par.

“It used to be very popular,” Gaines said. “We’ve had a steady stream of people all day long. I’d say we’ve had almost 1,000 total this weekend. I think it’s been a success. When vendors tell you they’ll be back next year, I think that’s a success.”

There were many different vendors on Saturday, those specializing in arts and crafts, and those selling food, wine or other consumables. There were jewelry booths, purses and even one man from Texarkana, Texas, who used a hammer and a chisel to put names on rings.

Amos and Kamilla Mainville said they stopped by because they’d read about it in the paper and they enjoyed supporting local artisans.

“We got some wine and some soap,” Mainville said. “This is the first year we’ve been here, and it seems like a pretty good show. We won a ring from Carter’s Design. We’ll be back next year.”

Violet Mullins said she had been quilting and sewing since she was 12 years old.

“My grandmother taught me how,” Mullins said. “Then, I had three daughters, and I made all their clothes and quilts. I got good at it very quickly.”

When asked if wearing handmade clothes to school embarrassed Jonita, she smiled and shook her head.

“When I was young, that wasn’t strange,” she said. “It wasn’t like today, where kids have to have designer clothes.”

Felicia Howlett and Patricia Deane came down from Tulsa to sell products from their “It Works” line. Howlett said Muskogee seemed well suited for the event.

“Muskogee draws people from surrounding areas,” she said. “They may not want to drive all the way to Tulsa, so they come here. It seems like a pretty good event so far. We’ve talked to a lot of people.”

For those looking for a similar event with a different twist, Gaines said they could come out to the Muskogee Purse and Shoe Sale, which will be going on from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday evening at the Civic Center.