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Chamber craft show brings in crowds

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POTSDAM — Julie A. Shantie, Winthrop, wandered the vendor booths at the Craft, Food, and Wine Show at Clarkson University’s Cheel Arena with several bags in hand.

Inside were food dips, a tie-dyed T-shirt, a candle, and other gifts for Christmas.

“Fudge and wine for myself,” she said. “The rest are for others.”

Shopper Alison B. Roy, Potsdam, was of the same mind.

She bought earrings for her nieces, fingerless mitts as a Christmas gift, and two bottles of wine for herself as part of her first trip to the show.

“It’s lovely,” she said. “There are such talented people in our area.”

The annual event sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce was a showcase for vendors who offered honey, goat cheese, leather bags, glass cheese boards, country ware, scarves, pickles, faux fur blankets, sauces, upcycled yarn goods, wood carvings, pillows, soap, vintage linens, beef jerky, natural chicken, and herbs among other products.

“To get your name out, this is the place to be,” said B. Gail Whitmarsh, who operates Gail’s Jewelry & Gift Shop on Main Street in Edwards. “People come from all over.”

Sales were brisk and she was nearly sold out of her stretch-to-fit shirts, she said.

Exposure for his Tug Hill Vineyards, Lowville, was also what proprietor Richard L. Cole was looking for.

“It’s been a great show for us,” he said. “St. Lawrence County has received our wines well.”

The event was the third time around for Linda S. Handville, Alfred, who brought jams, honey, fudge sauce and felted hats from her business, The Village Farm, to sell.

“We were invited the first time,” she said. “Last year, we had an awesome show. When you have a good show, you come back.”

The chamber’s two-day event attracted 1,700 shoppers on Friday, more than typical for a first day, but attendance records for Saturday had not been tallied yet.

“We have a few more vendors this year,” Executive Director Patricia L. McKeown said. “We’re very careful to pick so there’s a variety.”

Ms. McKeown said she was keeping a rough tally on what participants thought of the show by what they had in their hands.

“There’s not a person who’s walked out without a bag,” she said.

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