Family tradition

By on August 17, 2011

Three  generations of craft show dedication

By: LYNN REBUCK Record Express Correspondent

To Karen Tyson, the Lititz Rotary Craft Show is serious business. Any she isn’t even a vendor.

Tyson is a craft show aficionado, and a huge fan of the Rotary show. In fact, the Lititz resident pencils it in on her calendar years in advance.

“The second Saturday in August has a forever reservation on my calendar,” she said. “The only unknowns are: What will the weather be? Who will join me? And, what’s the must-have item you see everyone walking around with?”

For the most part, the weather cooperated on a cooler, cloudy day in downtown Lititz. But that hasn’t always been the case.

“I remember the year a thunderstorm came in mid-morning and had us scrambling to find cover,” she said. “I barely fit under the tiny rafter of one of the Main Street buildings with my two lampshades. She recalled watching vendor’s products, including purses, float by in the gutter.

This year Tyson was joined by her friend Linda Page, also a resident of Lititz. It’s the fourth year they have attended together. “We do birthday shopping, Christmas shopping, shopping for ourselves,” said Page.

The buddy system seems to be a boon to their success.

“It helps to go with a friend and you know their style,” said Tyson. Both related how they discover items for each other among the myriad of booths and crafts.

Both women were pleased Saturday with the quality and variety of crafts offered.

“This year we’ve only been through one block,” Tyson said.

“And we’ve been here a couple of hours,” added Page.

Both were sporting matching necklaces purchased at a Broad Street booth.

Though the pair enjoys the shared experience, their tastes differ.

“I have always especially liked Steve de Perrot,” said Page. “I look for the things that are truly locally made. Page and her husband enjoy surprising family members who live out of the area with gifts from the local show. “We’ve sent things to Nova Scotia, to Ireland and to California.”

Tyson, on the other hand, was looking for “bling” and items to decorate her home.

“I’m really into sunflowers,” she said while perusing some sticks with the bright yellow flowers on top. She bought those and a matching wreath.

For women who come to the show, it is more than just another place to shop. It is a culturally significant place of gathering. Mothers, daughters, sisters and friends look forward to the shared shopping experience. It is a place to reunite, visit and strengthen relationships.

“Linda and I needed some girlfriend time,” Tyson said before calling her husband to bring her daughter, Emily, age 11, down to the show. “She is really excited to come.”

It is a rite of passage for her pre-teen daughter, who enjoys making jewelry and collecting American Girl dolls.

For many women, including Tyson, the show that features many items of seasonal décor also offers an opportunity to reflect on the changing seasons of life.

“I remember waddling around (at the show) three weeks before my daughter was born,” she said.

The next year the friend who was with her “was the one waddling around ready to give birth just a couple of weeks later.”

As Tyson wove her way through the booths Saturday, taking the same route she has traveled for the past 13 years. She was a woman on a mission. Floral centerpieces and braided floor rugs were at the top of her list. She sought a couple of vendors from previous years to add to her collection of their crafts, but she was unsuccessful at locating them. Still, she came away with enough items to delight herself and her family.

One craft show tradition spans three generations of her family, fostered by the generosity of her mother, Mary Newby, who has attended with her over the years.

“When I’ve gone with Mom, she often winds up buying my birthday present at the show,” she said. “It makes us giggle because my birthday isn’t until October, but part of the present is being with Mom when we buy it and walking away with something I wouldn’t have gotten on my own if I were there by myself.”

This year, Tyson treated daughter Emily to an early birthday gift, jewelry from the booth of Laura and Scott Junco of Delmar, N.Y. And with her daughter tagging along, discoveries weren’t limited to what was being sold. Emily pointed out an element of the event that had gone unnoticed to her mother.

“I never realized just how many dogs come to the show until she started pointing them out,” Tyson said.

And what about finding the unique item that was the hottest seller of the show? Well, Tyson and her shopping cohorts never did find “the” item of the year. Still, at the end of the day she felt successful.

“I wound up with just enough purchases that I felt a very rich woman when I arrived home,” she said. “And I really didn’t spend all that much.” More TRADITION, page A14