Gift inspiration for holiday season

Gifts, food, entertainment and Santa. Just in time for the holidays, the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair took place Saturday and Sunday. 

This annual artisan event is held every year at the Petaluma Community Center and presented by Petaluma Parks and Recreation. It allowed local venders to present their homemade gifts for the public to purchase and admire. This year celebrated their 26th year as part of the community. Admission was free for all who wanted to join in on the fun.

The Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair had much to offer including over 40 booths of one-of-a-kind items, a raffle with prizes where all proceeds went toward their youth scholarship fund, food by Red Rose Catering and Got Balls Meatball Factory and holiday-themed photos with Santa. 

There was even entertainment provided on stage by the Petaluma Children’s Chorus, Studio C Dance Academy and the Petaluma Panthers Cheerleaders.

All ages gathered together to view the alluring crafts displayed at each booth within the three rooms designated for the fair in the Petaluma Community Center. Crafts and gifts for sale ranged from natural skin-care products, birdhouses, olive oils, teas, wildflower seed balls, photos, beads, spices, candles, knit goods, toys, ornaments and countless different kinds of handmade jewelry. 

Nicole Hewitt, the maker of Mamma Bear Skin Care, sold oodles of creations such as body butters, baby mists, face masks, salt scrubs, lip balms and hand sanitizers, all made from 100 percent organic natural ingredients. 

“I love it here at the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair,” said Hewitt. “The people who organize this event are exceptionally nice and the other venders treat one another as their own family and friends.” 

This year was Hewitt’s third year as a vendor for the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair but she sells to 5 different stores also, and has her own online website where she sells her homemade products.

Birdhouse maker Mary Laures has an intricate hobby and affection for crafting. 

“This is my first year at the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair, however, I’ve been selling my birdhouses for over 12 years,” said Laures. “It all began when a friend of mine and I were browsing antique stores and saw beautiful birdhouses. My friend said, ‘You could make those,’ and one day I decided to. When she saw what I had created, she bought it from me to show her support and I have been making birdhouses ever since.”

Each vendor had their own personal story as to how they emerged into the artisan world and got involved with local markets and fairs to promote their passion.

Next stop was photos with Santa, presented by Lynnette Joy Photography, who has been doing the Santa photography for the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair for over 10 years. 

“I’m very glad to be back, as I took a couple years off when the Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair was briefly run by a private company that wanted to over charge me,” said Joy. “I came back once the fair was run by the City Parks and Recreational department and it’s wonderful to know just how much people have missed the Santa photos that I provide them.”

There was also entertainment provided on a large wooden stage where several groups performed for all the visitors. 

On Saturday, the Petaluma Children’s Chorus sang carols in Santa hats as proud friends and family members continuously smiled and cheered for their young ones. Studio C Dance Academy also performed on Saturday with a series of back-to-back dance numbers that ranged from hip-hop, jazz, ballet and more, all choreographed to popular hits and classic holiday songs such as “All I Want for Christmas is You.” 

The dance styles and costumes varied for each dance number related to different songs. The performers for Studio C Dance Academy were of all ages, ranging from children to teenagers and young adults. Sunday’s entertainment was solely provided by the Petaluma Panthers Cheerleaders.

The Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair was a weekend full of one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone to enjoy, and playful performances that brought family, friends and former strangers together. 

It felt like a community of locals that embraced one another for their similarities and differences. 

The Petaluma Holiday Craft Fair is held every year nearing the holidays, and gives rising artists the chance to show their talent for the public to appreciate and adore.