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Crafts fair focuses on the community

Nov. 30, 2012 @ 11:46 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Going to the annual Lions Tri-State Arts and Crafts Festival is more than a night out for Kriste Emonds of Proctorville and her mother -- it's a family tradition.

"We do this every year," she said Friday night. "We always come here to look for Christmas things, and we always end up finding nice things and spending a lot more time and money here than we meant to spend."

Emonds and her family were joined by hundreds of other arts and crafts enthusiasts at Big Sandy Superstore Arena Conference Center for the event, which is in its 36th year, said John Pinkerman, a member of the Lesage Lions Club, which hosts the event with the Southeast Lions Club.

The event raises about $10,000 annually for the clubs, Pinkerman said, and that money is evenly split between the two clubs. It is pumped back into the community in the form of donations and sponsorships of Little League teams, Boy and Girl Scouts, high school scholarships and a variety of other charitable purposes.

That's all the more reason to make sure the quality and quantity of the vendors at the event is top-notch, Pinkerman said.

"We want people to come here and find things that they wouldn't be able to find anywhere else," he said. "Really, the best thing that can happen is you come here, and buy something you really will enjoy because everyone wins that way. You get a new, unique and locally-made item, the vendors profit, and the community profits with each purchase."

The show features a wide range of arts, crafts and foods, with vendors from throughout the east coast and Midwest.

The club members also are living up to the challenge issued to them by Helen Keller nearly 87 years ago to be "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness," by providing free eye screenings and accepting unwanted prescription glasses.

The 36th Annual Lions Arts and Crafts Festival will continue from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 1, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2.

Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and free for children 12-years-old and under.

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