Arts and crafts: a family affair

BY JEN LADWIG | Evergreen reporter

For those who don’t enjoy holiday shopping, a variety of arts and craft vendors will gather this weekend to make it a one stop shopping experience.

The Gallagher family has always loved crafts, and as a family they started their own arts and crafts fair 27 years ago, and it has only grown since.

Linda Gallagher, the promoter of the Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival at Beasley Coliseum, has been involved in the fair since the very beginning.

Garden ceramics, homemade soaps, knitwear, and jewelry are just some of the crafts that show up at the fair. One fairly large booth sells custom knitted and crocheted goods, such as knitted swimsuits.

“It’s not your grandmother’s knitting,” Linda said.

Another vendor makes customized ornaments while a different booth sells watercolors of the Palouse, she said.

The fair isn’t just a business for the Gallagher family, but it’s also a business for the 60 vendors who sell their goods, she said.

“Most of the vendors we have are professionals who want to make a profit,” Linda said. “For most people this is their livelihood.”

The fair also includes nonprofit vendors, Linda said. For example, Cooper’s Legacy Foundation, which raises money to assist people whose pet’s require medical attention, will be at the show, she said. Another organization, Helping Hands Rescue based out of Lewiston, Idaho, sells merchandise to raise money for the Humane Society.

Ginger Gallagher, Linda’s daughter, is in charge of making calls throughout the year to set up vendors and help create the map of booths for the fair itself.

One feature of the fair Ginger said was important is the fact that the products being sold are not manufactured. They are hand-made with care, she said.

“We just want people to really know that these products are custom made by professionals,” Ginger said.

The Gallaghers also run fair during Mom’s Weekend, and both shows have their own specific theme.

“We started with the fall fair and added the Mom’s Weekend fair two years later,” Linda said. “The fall fair is more of a holiday show.”

The two shows get a much different crowd.  The fall show brings in more locals who are going specifically for their holiday shopping, while the Mom’s Weekend show brings in more people just looking around, Linda said.

Linda and Ginger works closely with Russ Driver, the assistant director of Beasley Coliseum.

“It’s a great way to kick off your Christmas shopping,” Driver said.

The Autumn Arts and Crafts Festival is on Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Beasley Coliseum.  Admission is free.

Linda stared the fair more than 20 years ago from the perspective of a vendor who wanted a way to sell her own crafts.

“In the early years my whole family had taken on a whole variety of arts and crafts,” Ginger said. “So we decided to start our own fair to meet our specific needs.”

Since this show has been going on for many years, the Gallagher’s have developed a relationship with everyone they work with at the event.

Linda said the show used to take place in December as one of the vendors’ last opportunities to sell goods. Many of the vendors would trade items with each other to get presents for the holiday season, she said.

“It is put on by the three of us: myself, my daughter, and my granddaughter,” Linda said.  “It’s a family business.”

However, Linda said they have also gotten to know many of the vendors over the years.

“I’ve worked with them for 10 years,” Driver said. “We’ve done this show together for so long that it’s like working with friends, not with a client.”