Readying for the holidays, friends Fran Place and Mary Creamer stopped in to shop at the Church of the Ascension’s 44th annual Mistletoe Mart on Friday afternoon. The event continues from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11, at the Westminster church.
“It’s very nice and there are wonderful craftsmen,” said Place, of Taneytown. “People have some unique ideas.”
“I like supporting local people and the church,” added Creamer, of Hampstead. “Everything’s so pretty and it puts you in the holiday spirit.”
According to Mistletoe Mart’s committee chairwoman, Marcie Forster, the three-day event that began Thursday features 52 juried artisans. The committee evaluates products in March and contracts artists in April. They look for unique, handcrafted items with excellent artistry and only allow five jewelers per show.
“We want to give our customers an opportunity to buy things they can’t buy at a regular store,” Forster said. “Many customers come here to start their holiday shopping. The items are offered at a fair price relative to the artists’ talents. It’s a great way to find one-of-a-kind gifts for everyone on your list and decorations for your home.”
Forster said 20 percent of the vendors’ fees, food sales, bake sales and admission proceeds are donated to community organizations including the YMCA Turkey Trot, Neighbors in Need Year Round, Men of Standard, Carroll County Food Sunday, The Shepherd’s Staff, Taraja Resource Network Inc., Westminster Rescue Mission, NESAP, Access Carroll, the Community Foundation of Carroll County and Friends of Success Housing.
Checking out the jewelry selection, Cynthia Beckhardt and her niece, Katy DeGroff, said they were getting in the “holiday mood.”
“We enjoy seeing all the different vendors,” said Beckhardt, of Finksburg. “Some come every year and some are new. I love the smells and atmosphere, and I can find unique gifts for friends and family.”
“Some of the things are so out of the ordinary,” added DeGroff, of Westminster. “They’re definitely things you can’t find in a store.”
One-of-a-kind items, like Metal Illusions’ yard decorations upcycled out of silverware, were a big draw for many shoppers.
Bill Helsel, of Monrovia, said he comes to the mart every year for the variety of crafts and the event’s friendly atmosphere.
“I really appreciate the quality of the crafts and I like that I can find something different,” Helsel said.
Picking out ornaments for her children, Karen Stump, of Sykesville, said she, too, comes every year.
“It’s nice because it’s local and it’s a good way to get in the holiday spirit,” she said.