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Tradition returns
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A newcomer to the Warren County Arts and Crafts Fair this year is Bill McGinness, who has some rather unique grills. - photo by Seth Wright
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Among the many beautiful handcrafted items offered at the crafts fair are wooden bowls made by Gene Barr. - photo by Seth Wright

A Warren County Christmas season tradition makes a triumphant return to the Milner Recreation Center this weekend. Due to construction and COVID, it has been four years since the annual unofficial kickoff to the holiday season has happened in its traditional home, but the Warren County Arts and Crafts Fair presented by Homeland Community Bank is back Friday and Saturday.

Cindy Rogers, marketing director for Homeland Community Bank, is enthusiastic about bringing the beloved community event back in a big way. “This is the 51st year of the crafts fair. Homeland Community Bank took over the management of the show in its 40th year. The last year we held the event was in 2019 and that was at the fairgrounds due to the construction going on at the rec center. It was last held in what is now called the Milner Recreation Center in 2018,” Rogers said.

Just as the Civic Center got a face lift during its transformation into the Milner Recreation Center, the crafts fair will have a new look. “The main floor will look a little different with our booths. Also, we have an elevator now, so that’s going to provide easy access for the community as well as our vendors, so we’re excited about that. And as you come in the front doors, they have a new layout there, so I think that will look really nice. We’re using the main floor and the upstairs. Our food vendors will use rooms 2 and 3. There will be tables and chairs available so our shoppers can go in and sit and rest a minute and then go back and shop some more,” Rogers said. “I think the new layout will be a positive change for the show and the vendors as well as the community. We’ve already had calls from people who are happy about the added accessibility the elevator provides.”

While the layout may have changed a bit, one thing that remains the same is the wide range of offerings. “We have our old favorites everybody loves – wood-turners, pottery, stained glass, blacksmiths, coppersmiths, knives, Christmas and home décor, baked goods, artwork, jewelry – it’s a vast array of arts and crafts. If you’re looking for that unique gift that you can’t buy in a store, this is the place to be. We’re fully booked with about 120 booths,” Rogers said. 

The crafts fair is open Friday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Milner Recreation Center. Admission is free to the public and the first 250 shoppers each day will receive a free shopping bag. All shoppers are encouraged to register for a $250 cash prize which will be given away at the close of the show. Many vendors will also be giving away door prizes throughout the show.