Shoppers find hand-crafted variety at East Grand Forks Craft Fair – Grand Forks Herald

Hand-crafted wooden toys and jewelry, reversible table runners, scented candles, quilts and afghans, embroidered kitchen towels and aprons, wearable accessories such as caps, mittens and scarves, tote bags, and seasonal decorations were in abundance.    

Shoppers could try skincare products, including body and facial scrubs and emu oil, before buying. Edible treats as such as lefse, candies, kettle corn and salsas also tempted.    

All kinds of items for all kinds of tastes.

Elizabeth Rzepka of Hallock, Minn., sampled the made-from-scratch apple pie offered by Theresa Oatman of Lake of the Woods Pie Company which recently relocated from Warroad, Minn., to Devils Lake, N.D.

“That’s really good pie,” Rzepka said.    

Thain Bouvette and his daughter Casey, Grand Forks, browsed a display of fall floral arrangements created by Kathy Hudson of Wahpeton, N.D.  

“Something like this is a good place to find gifts for grandparents,” said Bouvette.

At craft fairs like this one, he hunts for items to decorate the family home.

“I’m always on the lookout for things to add,” he said. “I’m like a cat lady; my wife has to rein me in.”

Diane Muir, also of Hallock, said she’s “at that age where less is more — you’ve got to be really choosy.”

Kathy Wagner of Crookston, Minn., accompanied by her daughter, Kim VanAmburgh of Grand Forks, said the show is “a good place to find gifts.”

“So far, I’ve bought fudge,” she said, “which I really didn’t need.”     

Ken Ness, Grand Forks, said he came to the show, specifically, to buy doughnuts from Charlotte’s Homemade Lefse, based in Edmore, N.D.  

Vendors Jill and Myron Halvorson of West Fargo were pleased with the foot traffic at this year’s show and the amount of business their “Another Chance Crafts” booth was doing.  

“It’s our second year here,” Jill Halvorson said. “I’ve sold a whole bunch of scarves made from recycled T-shirts.”

The scarves are emblazoned with the sports team symbols of UND, NDSU, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota Vikings.

“We’re a mixed marriage,” Myron Halvorson said. “She’s NDSU. I’m UND.”  

The two-day craft fair featured dozens of vendors filling two sites, the Civic Center and VFW Arena, for its 43rd annual show, drawing shoppers from near and far.     

“Business has been wonderful,” said Billie Kellar, Grand Forks, who makes and markets a variety of whole body scrubs and a facial scrub made from natural ingredients.

“It’s always been a wonderful show for us. This is one of our favorites every year.”

Her business, Billie’s Soap and Spa Products, started small, generated by a personal pet peeve.  
“I invented this product in my kitchen because I hated the way lotion made my hands feel greasy,” she said.  

Her body scrub — “a soap, body wash and lotion all in one” — seemed to draw a lot of interest and questions, especially from female customers who flocked to her booth display.