HELENA — With over 180 artists offering homemade gifts, Helena's Holiday-MADE Fair provides the community another way to shop local while fundraising non-perishable foods for Helena Food Share.
"We have ceramics. We have wool items. We have jewelry. We have photography, woodworking, so kind of a little bit of something for everyone and kind of think of it as like a mini-mall," said Carol Lynn Lapotka, the founder of the Fair.
She says she is excited to offer the community gifts they won’t find at big box stores.
"So this year it's we feel very fortunate that we are going to be able to have a safe event and be able to have that income source for a lot of local artists that really rely on it, especially during the holiday season," said Lapotka.
The fair is also offering free COVID-19 vaccines on Saturday from 11 to 2 p.m.
Vendors say they are happy to give Helena residents another holiday shopping option—one with no shipping-related problems.
"I love it; we get our wool from Hall, Montana. They're kind of our primary suppliers. It's nice for everything to connect. There are problems with the supply lines. There's none here; people are still ranching wool." Said Karl Knudsen co-owner of Patagonian Hands, a wool item shop.
And shopping local supports Montana artists who may have struggled through the last year.
"There's something really super special about handmade goods. It has a certain life to it that you don't get with manufactured items, you know somebody put their love and their life into that, and you get that with handmade items," said Amanda Bjerke, owner of Natural Knitwear, a local shop with resource items.
The fair will begin on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 10 am-5 pm, and Sunday 10 am-4 pm At the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds in the Exhibition Hall.