Hundreds attend St. Elizabeth Seaton craft show

he descendent of a humble tag sale established for St. Elizabeth Seton Parish some 15 years ago is today an annual event that on Saturday, Nov. 9, drew hundreds to purchase or admire the wares of more than 50 crafters.

The event was held in the gymnasium adjacent to the church at 190 Meetinghouse Road, Bedford.

Tables were populated with quilters, knitters, jewelry makers, bakers and Christmas-ornament designers. A beekeeper and his wife, John and Dolores Blake, of DJ’s Pure Honey, of Manchester, offered bottles of the golden liquid in several sizes. Members of the Bedford Historical Society offered keepsakes with a Bedford flavor. Jams and jellies and pure, soy candles went to new homes.

The Knights of Columbus Council 12988, based at the church, supervised the concession stand. Members Bob Urban, Jason Cregnan and others witnessed the rapid depletion of their supply of cheeseburgers and hamburgers, along with 180 hot dogs.

The church’s website notes its growth from 400 families to some 3,000 households in the years since its establishment in 1966.

Today, some 10,000 people from Bedford and elsewhere claim St. Elizabeth Seton as a base for their faith. The church’s namesake was the first native-born citizen of the United States to be canonized. Her devotion to widows, orphans and the poor was renowned. She was 46 when she died of tuberculosis in 1821.

Parishioners were abundant at the craft fair, as were visitors from many towns. They found terrariums and miniature landscapes from Crystal Gardens in Andover, Mass. They purchased French linen tablecloths, napkins and place mats from Occitan Imports in Brookline. Others sought holiday ornaments crafted by Bedford’s Carrye Schenk, owner of Carrye Originals LLC. The handmade ornaments were encrusted with Swarovski crystals.

“Anyone who likes bling should have bling – a little sparkle,” Shenk said. “We women should be dripping in diamonds and rubies. Maybe that’s why I am fascinated with Swarovski crystals. I use them on my ornaments because they never lose their sparkle.”

Rosies Roses Creations, named for Rosie Garvey, of Amherst, offered handcrafted jewelry made of glass, Irish knits and an array of too-cute baby clothes knitted with soft yarns. Rosie, 15, contends with cystic fibrosis. She shared her selling duties with Amherst friends Morgan Zifchak, 15, and Leah Troie, 15, who noted that 100 percent of the proceeds go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“We’ve had a lot of people come by and many of them have some connection with cystic fibrosis,” Rosie said. “They tend to support us more because they know what they spend goes to the foundation.”

Event organizer Susan Lawless and a crew of volunteers, including young men and women from Bedford High School, Trinity High School and St. Elizabeth Seton’s CCD classes – the church’s catechism group – assisted scores of attendees seeking one type of craft or another. Members of the St. Elizabeth Seton Women’s Guild supervised the bake sale and displayed a tempting array of brownies, cranberry-nut breads, pumpkin breads and sugar cookies.

Lawless said there was something for everyone at the craft show.

She said the items on display represented the love that crafters have for the goods they design and make. She said the crafters included men and women who share a love of the work they accomplish.

“I think crafters just love making things,” Lawless said. “They’re just driven to make works of art.”

She sent thanks to all who made the day enjoyable, including Lori Andrede, of Bedford’s Dunkin Donuts stores, who donated 12 dozen donuts. Others were commended for contributing raffle prizes.

Crafters, businesses and other individuals donated item. The booty included a Blu-ray digital disc player, eight pewter steins and a pair of Cabbage Patch dolls from 1984 and 1985 in their original boxes.

Shoppers agreed the event was an outstanding success. Diane Walton, of Bedford, and her son, Caleb Walton, 7, came to find Christmas presents.

Caleb admired a wooden puzzle and admitted he is a builder at heart.

His most recent project is a masterpiece of Lego engineering. Elsewhere, Bedford’s Sam Ravennel, 9, and his mom, Melonie, considered raffle prizes they desired. Meanwhile, Scott Danielson, of Bedford, and his grandson, Zachery Danielson, chatted with the beekeeper as Zachery, who prefers his tea with honey, tasted some samples.

Deb Schimmel, “The Gingerbread Lady,” of Bedford, offered mini-cookies as samples.

Shoppers seemed to appreciate the soft texture and the nostalgia generated by gingerbread cookies.

Schimmel offers a variety of sizes, decorated with care and oftentimes made to order for special occasions.

Few departed that day with empty hands. One customer gladly lingered as Manchester’s Nancy Keleher, of Little Ham, an enterprise catering to accessories for babies, added a row of knit stitches to a cap for a newborn great-grandchild.

Aileen Bott, a resident of Bedford and a member of the Bedford Women’s Club, paused near a jewelry vendor then moved on to eventually buy Christmas presents for her two daughters. She swept her gaze over the room and shared her impression of the event.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Bott said.