By Natalie Adams
Every year, on the second Saturday of December, Arundel High school is open for shoppers to purchase handmaid crafts at the Arundel Holiday Craft Fair. However, the 2017 craft fair faced some scheduling difficulties. The event was originally scheduled for Saturday, December 9, but was cancelled due to snow. The craft fair was rescheduled for the following Saturday, December 16, but was again threatened by snowfall on the Friday before the fair. Due to the support of the organizers—Carol Myers and Lynne Clark (left and right, respectively, in the header photo)—and the many volunteers, the craft fair was still held on its rescheduled day.
The fair was started around 35 years ago by Carol Myers, a former Arundel Speech and Debate and AP Language and Composition teacher. She got the idea of hosting a fair from Mary Huey, who worked at Glen Burnie High School. Myers decided to start the fair as a fundraiser for smaller clubs at Arundel who had difficulty with funding. Myers said that “It is a wonderful fundraiser where none of the kids touch any money or product.” All of the students who help with the craft fair only set up and clean up. They mark off and label the spaces where the crafters set up their stands, assist the crafters in setting up, and then clean up after the fair. Clark, who assists Myers in organizing, explained that “We always get raving reviews from crafters about how helpful our students are.”
There is no cost for admission or cuts from the crafters’ profits. Crafters pay rent to the school clubs to rent out space to set up their booths and sell their crafts. One space costs $35 and crafters can rent as many spaces as they want, along with tables ($10 each) and even an electrical outlet (another $10).
The craft fair was originally held only in the cafeteria, but has spread to several hallways. There were approximately 142 crafters this year, and even though the fair was not until December, all of the spaces were full by September.
There are many types of crafts sold at the fair. Myers explained that they are all handcrafted items. “It varies over the years what’s popular,” she said, but noted that “there’s usually some woodwork, holiday craft[s] for decoration, jewelry, knitting, crocheting, soap, candles, pottery, wreaths,” and “some food[s] like nuts and jellies.”
With the growth of the fair itself, there has also been a growth in the clubs that contribute and benefit from it. Mrs. Myers recalled, “When it first started, I was the advisor for Key Club and for Speech and Debate. It was my fundraiser for those two [clubs].” Over the years, many more clubs have been added. Speech and Debate and Key Club are still a big part of it, but there is also English Honor Society, Social Studies Honor Society, and Dance Company, among others, and the band sells concessions. “My goal was always to make it a fundraiser for clubs that didn’t have a lot of [members],” said Myers.
After 35 years of running the craft fair, Myers has decided to pass on part of the responsibility to Lynne Clark. Clark was a math teacher at Arundel for 34 years, but retired in 2014 and now teaches at Anne Arundel Community College. She has been running the craft fair since she retired and explained, “Mrs. Myers taught me how to do it and turned over most of it to me, but I still need her.” They work together every year to keep the fair going and help the clubs at Arundel receive funding.