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For several years, Schuyler resident Laura Vanek has been a regular patron at CHI Health Schuyler Auxiliary’s Craft & Hobby Market. She has admired the crafts, but more importantly, brings home gifts for her grandchildren.

“They always have such pretty things and different things,” Vanek said. “People’s hobbies and interests, it just makes it really interesting. A fun thing to do on a Sunday afternoon.”

Vanek said the event includes different vendors and crafters each year, which makes the experience more exciting. From crocheted baby blankets to jewelry and seasonal decorations, the event offers something for nearly everyone.

Sunday marked the 45th year CHI Health Schuyler Auxiliary hosted the event in efforts to raise funds for hospital equipment. Proceeds were collected through table rentals, raffle tickets, food stands and bake sales.

Auxiliary President Rose Kracl said the event receives a great deal of support each year, from City of Schuyler officials providing the venue at Schuyler Oak Ballroom for free to area businesses donating items for the raffle.

Throughout the years, Kracl said the group has successfully brought in thousands of dollars for the hospital. But, Kracl explained how much crafting trends have evolved throughout the years, which has affected event turnout.

“(Craft & Hobby Market) has changed dramatically,” she said. “This place used to be packed, plus, outdoors. But over the years … people have kind of gotten out of the crafting business because people are downsizing, so they aren’t purchasing crafts.”

Despite that, Kracl said the group strives to invite different crafters and vendors who carry certain nationwide products to the show to provide patrons a wider variety.

“They attract more people to come, too, because people like their items,” she said. “If they don’t like crafts then they can come for something like that.”

This year, there were close to 20 different crafters and vendors from Schuyler and its surrounding communities at the event, which included Topham’s Beads-N-Blankets from Lincoln.

Mary Topham, co-owner of Topham’s Beads-N-Blankets, picked up crocheting from her mother and said it has been her passion since her teenage years. Mary mostly makes baby blankets and scarves, whereas, her husband, Doug, makes key chains and wall hangings with beads. The duo has been participating in craft shows for eight years.

“It’s something different,” Mary said. “Every show is different. I mean you never know when you’re going to make or break it.”

Although crafters were excited to share their work with the public, Lorrie Kroeger, independent consultant for Scentsy, wanted to showcase her support for the auxiliary. Kroeger has been selling scented fragrance wax and wireless scented warmers at the event for the past five years.

“Just seeing the people and being part of this community,” the Schuyler native said. “I’ve always wanted to volunteer and help out.”

Despite the downpour on Sunday, Kracl said the event received a good turnout.

“The most important thing is for people to come to the ballroom to support these people that are selling things, and then also to support the hospital,” Kracl said.

Natasya Ong is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach her via email at

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