Share-ing the holiday spirit

MILFORD – Christmas starts in July for Mariette Facques when she visits craft shops in the Lake Winnipesaukee area, takes the crafters’ business cards and hopes they aren’t booked for the first Saturday in December.

Facques was one of the founders of Share, the local safety net for those in need, and 24 years ago she started the Share Christmas Fair and is still organizing it. An increasing number of fairs means her job is getting harder.

“The last five years there has been a lot more competition for crafters,” Facques said in a recent phone interview.

In Milford alone this year there are almost a dozen fairs on Saturday, Dec. 2, and many more throughout New Hampshire.

In the Share building on Columbus Drive there will be gift items from 20 crafters, who buy tables to sell their crafts, holiday decorations and jewelry.

There’s also a raffle table with “wonderful, wonderful” items, said Facques.

Along with raising money for Share, which helps the needy in Milford, Amherst, Mont Vernon and Brookline, she said, the fair brings people into the building and increases awareness of what Share does.

Throughout the year Share provides food and clothing and helps with housing, fuel and utility costs and provides new backpacks to school children. It also provides volunteer opportunities to 170 local people, many who are retired.

This week it distributed 379 Thanksgiving baskets, feeding 1,784 people, said executive director Christine Janson.

Come to the fairs

Milford’s annual Holiday Craft Fairs and related events will take place in and around the Oval on Dec. 2. Hosted by Milford nonprofits, churches, and community groups, fair hours will run (depending on site) from 8 or 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The Milford Indoor Farmers Market will also be held in Town Hall Auditorium from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Editor’s note: The numbers correspond with those on the map shown above.

1. Groups located at the Jacques School:

• Jingle Downtown Holiday Fair: Benefits Souhegan Valley Dollars for Scholars (John Foss Scholarship. Lunch available also. Information: souheganvalley.dollars

• MHS Music Boosters Cookie Walk/Bake Sale

2. 1st Congregational Church 35th annual Holly Berry Fair, on Union Street, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Santa pics: 10 a.m.-noon.

3. Unitarian Universalist Church Holiday Craft Fair- Holiday Fair & Cafe, 20 Elm St., 8:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Hot breakfast & lunch available.

4. Share Outreach Christmas Fair, 1 Columbus Ave., 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Elegant handmade crafts from professional craftspeople, pictures with Santa, lunch with chowders and hot dogs. More than 100 raffle items, free cash door prizes every hour.

5. Milford Farmers Market Winter Market, Milford Town Hall Auditorium, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Live music!

6. Church of Our Saviour Christmas Fair, 10 Amherst St, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

7. St. Patrick’s Church Fair, 34 Amherst St., 9 a.m.-2 p.m.

8. Candle Sale to benefit the Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club & Share, 25 Meadowbrook Dr., 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

9. United Methodist Church Christmas Fair, 327 N. River Road, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Breakfast from 9-11, lunch 11-1. Live music. Park here then carpool together to other stops.

10. 7th Annual Wreaths Around the Wadleigh, 49 Nashua St. Visit the library to bid on one of the many beautiful and creative wreaths – several with special ‘surprises’ and gift certificates! Wreaths will be on display and available for bidding Dec. 3-18.

11. Holiday Creative Craft Fair at Art Happens, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Kids $1 Art Workshop. Portion of the proceeds go to Share Outreach.

12. Bring your holiday gifts to the Wadleigh Library between 10:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. to be wrapped – and support a great cause. Free event, donations encouraged to benefit the Friends of the Wadleigh Library’s fundraising efforts. All giftwrap and supplies will be provided.

Also this Saturday, the Amherst Lions Club will hold its annual crafts fair at the Amherst Middle School, on Cross Road, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.