It’s not Christmas yet, but it’s coming |

It’s not Christmas yet, but it’s coming

by Sally J. Taylor

It’s 57 days until Christmas, but volunteers with Friends of the Dayton Library are scrambling to be ready a month early.

The 17th annual Christmas Faire, Crafts, Gifts and Book Sale fund-raiser for the library happens Nov. 20 and 21 at Dayton High School, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

Mary Martin has been helping and making crafts for the fair for three years. She’s been planning her crafts since August, and seriously working on the beaded ornaments, pillows, napkin rings, and gift baskets since September. By Monday, she expects to have seven or eight boxes filled with crafts to sell.

What she makes in sales is normally just a little bit more than her costs for materials and the $50 fee for the booth, which goes to the library.

“Why I do the crafts fair, is because it supports the library,” said the mother of 4-, 5-, and 9-year-old children, all of whom have benefited from the library’s books and story hour.

Nancy Dresbach, who has participated in the fair for eight years, first as a crafter then as the committee chairwoman, pointed to the colorful rug and child-size desk purchased with proceeds from previous fairs.

Planning for her began in January.

“The first mailing to crafters goes out in May,” Dresbach said.

The first several months, she’s focused on organizing the crafters. There is already a waiting list for the 57 booths. Most of the crafters, like Martin, live in the area, but some come from as far away as Stockton and Merced in California and even Henderson.

Each crafter donates an item for a silent auction and raffle, which also include items donated by local merchants.

Besides crafts, the fair offers books for sale and home-baked goods and snacks such as hot dogs, salads, chili, nachos and chorizos.

“In September, we send out letters seeking donations for the kitchen. We try to get all the food donated.”

Volunteers are also needed. Betty Retzer, who is fairly new to Dayton, is the volunteer coordinator and also seeks donations.

“I do a lot of begging,” she said with a smile. “A lot of favors are called in.”

Despite the hard, even humbling work, Retzer loves the involvement and coordinating volunteers from service clubs and youth groups as well as individuals.

“It’s been a good introduction to Dayton,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of nice people.”

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are already lined up to listen to wish lists. John and Nina Bailey have been playing the eternal couple for 10 years. Veterans of Foreign Wars No. 8660 will take photographs for $3 each.

At 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days, Santa will read to children and give away books. Right after both reading sessions on Saturday and the morning session on Sunday, volunteers will help children with craft projects such as bracelets, Christmas cards, toothpick holders and ornaments.

“They’ll have the chance to make something for a parent or sibling if they want,” Dresbach said. She added that even if parents aren’t interested in buying something, there will be a lot of free activities for the children.

Last year, the library made about $4,000 from the fair.

But before Nov. 20, more work needs to be done.

“We’re always still looking for volunteers,” Retzer said, “and baked goods and food for the kitchen.”

If You Go

What: Friends of the Dayton Library 17th Annual Christmas Faire, Crafts, Gifts and Book Sale fund-raiser.

Includes: Craft booths, used and new books, food, silent auction; Mr. and Mrs. Claus will read to children; children’s crafts.

Where: Dayton High School

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Nov. 20-21.

Needs: Volunteers and donations.

Call: 246-3910

Contact Sally Taylor at staylor or 881-1210.