The CHI Health Schuyler Memorial Hospital Auxiliary held its 43rd annual Hobby and Craft Market Sunday at the Oak Ballroom in an effort to raise funds to purchase new equipment for the local hospital.
More than 20 vendors and local crafters set up shop inside the venue, showcasing their finest creations to people from Schuyler and surrounding communities. The event also featured a bake sale, and representatives from United Healthcare provided further information regarding Medicare and Medicaid plans.
The vendors this year provided a wide variety of products and services, from people selling and sewing socks to those offering a new spin on tea. Just about anything someone could want was available, just in time for people to begin considering what they want to give their loved ones as a Christmas gift.
Members of the auxiliary helped provide support, including Loretta Horner, a member of the auxiliary and a mainstay at the event for many years. She assists vendors with support and helps them reserve a table at the event. She has seen plenty of vendors and crafters come through the doors over the years, but the event’s mission has largely remained constant.
“It’s about making money to buy items for the Schuyler hospital,” Horner said.
She has seen the event go through a wide variety of changes, which have paralleled the vast, sweeping changes that have affected Schuyler since the event began back in the 1970s. The number of people selling items at the fair has gone down for a variety of reasons.
“Years ago, we would have probably twice as many,” Horner said of vendors in attendance. “I’m not sure (what’s changed). I would say locally, our community has changed. There was a time where a lot of women could work on homemade products, crafts and things, and it would be an income for them, but I’m not sure that it’s the necessity that it was then.
“I think it’s just a change in society.”
The gathering used to serve as a platform for homemade crafts to be showcased. With fewer people making things from home, the event has adjusted. Even with a decline in the number of people participating in the fair and craft show, more outside vendors have started attending.
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“We have changed from all homemade crafts and added vendors like Avon and other commercial packaged items,” Horner said.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the bake sale, which has been held for as long as the event has been in existence. This years attendees had the chance to view and purchase a variety of baked goods, like kolaches, cinnamon rolls and pies.
“Our members donate the bakery,” said Magdeline Svec, who, along with Joan Muehlich, ran the bake sale. “We have pastries, pies, cakes, kolaches, strudel (and) pickles.”
As members of the auxiliary, they help run the hospital’s gift shop while also providing the many baked goods that help fund a variety of hospital services. The two had been looking forward to selling out of their baked items by noon.
“The goal is to sell what the people have donated,” Svec said.
There wasn’t a set dollar amount that the organizers wanted to raise; however, Horner and Auxiliary President Rose Kracl were looking forward to seeing plenty of people come through the doors to find various items for themselves and others. If they could find what they were looking for, all the better.
“Lots of shoppers, lots of buyers (and) success,” Horner said.
“The more shoppers we get in here, the happier the vendors are,” Kracl said. “Then, they want to come back next year. If they don’t sell enough product to pay for their space, they may not come back because we don’t have the crowd.”
Zach Roth is a reporter for the Schuyler Sun. Reach him via email at email@example.com.