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Fall bazaar lures crafty shoppers Event continues today in Reese


Sheila Cantrell of Glen Burnie sold ceramic "suicide ducks" and smiling Frankensteins. George Olivero of Westminster displayed thrones and couches for cats. Penny Green rang up sales of cinnamon-coated mashed potato candy.

Eighty-five vendors did their best yesterday to lure shoppers at the 11th Annual Reese Fall Bazaar at the Reese Firemen's Building. The craft show, which continues today from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., is sponsored by the Ladies' Auxiliary at the Reese and Community Fire Department.

Mrs. Cantrell offered a layaway plan to customers interested in buying her more expensive ceramic items. One of her best sellers, a life-like old country couple sitting on a doll-sized bench, sells for $235, she said.

She has lowered prices in the last three months because of the poor economy. Eighteen-inch-high ceramic clowns with colorful outfits that sold for $35 three months ago now go for $25, or two for $45, Mrs. Cantrell said.

The suicide ducks -- ceramic planters shaped like ducks withtheir heads bent down, which are meant to be perched on the edge of a shelf -- are popular, said Mrs. Cantrell, a Westminster native.

The Frankenstein dolls sell well when dressed in pro football colors, she said. Dolls wearing Washington Redskins or Los Angeles Raiders colors sold out.

Yesterday's craft show was only the one second one at which cat couch salesman Mr. Olivero had displayed his wares. Fashioning cat thrones, couches, chairs and perches out of wood and carpet is a hobby, he said.

His sign read: "Cat furniture. For the cat who has everything."

"I don't even like cats," said Mr. Olivero, 63, a retired maintenance supervisor.

He also makes dog and bird houses and began making cat furniture after a friend requested it, he said.

The throne, which cost $65 and stood about 4 feet tall, would allow a cat to survey everything going on in a room -- or get away from a pesky dog.

Cat chairs, which customers also use as doll chairs, and beds sold for $15. Couches went for $20. All came in pink, purple, blue and brown.

Mr. Olivero, who works in his basement and has been retired five years, said making the crafts "keeps me sane."

He doesn't foresee his hobby becoming a big business. Most of his sales are by word-of-mouth, he said. The craft fair offered a chance to try to sell his surplus.

"I just made too many. I got carried away," he said.

Ms. Green of Stevensville in Queen Anne's County made one sale after another yesterday morning at her Penny Candies booth. She and her daughter, Penny Rill of Westminster, have been vendors at the Reese show for the last 10 years.

Her table offered candy in unusual shapes and sizes. A pink chocolate dinosaur and a slice of milk chocolate pizza with hand-painted pepperoni each sold for $3.99. Sweet potato candy made from mashed potatoes and coated with cinnamon, peanut butter or coconut sold for $1.25 a box.

Nancy Bridges of Towson was intrigued by a collection of woodenplaques hand-painted by Pat Price of Rising Sun in Cecil County. Ms. Bridges decided on a $20 plaque with an older couple in a bathtub together and the words "Bathe Together. Conserve Energy" painted on it.

Mrs. Price said the tub design is popular around Christmas. Plaques with cow designs also are hot items.

"Cows are going crazy this year," she said.

Another of her fast-selling items is a $20 coat rack for hunters with pegs for "raunchy old hat," "bloody coat" and "ripped pants."

Mrs. Price said she expected sales of $1,300 to $1,400 at this weekend's show. Sales are somewhat off because of the recession, but not as much as she expected, she said.

Wanda Schaeffer, chairwoman of the bazaar, said the event has been so popular that the auxiliary plans a follow-up show Dec. 5 and 6. The show has been dubbed "Christmas Along the Highway" and will feature 62 different vendors from this weekend's show, she said.

Organizers will raffle off more than 30 items donated from vendors at 4 p.m. today. Raffle tickets are $1 each.

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