The Christmas spirit will be in full swing Saturday and Sunday at the Mauch Chunk Museum and Cultural Center during the Olde Tyme Christmas Art and Fine Crafts Bazaar.
Presented by Indian River Art Guild/Spirit Creations, the event was designed to promote local artists and crafters in the area, while raising money for Soldiers' Angels, a volunteer-led nonprofit organization that aids and supports the men and women of the military and their families.
Approximately 30 artisans will have their work on display in the ballroom on the second floor of the museum, located at 41 W. Broadway in Jim Thorpe, from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m., both Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 5-6. Admission is free.
Many of the artists will be dressed in period clothing from the Victorian era of 1860-1914, as they portray fictional characters or real persons from the time period. Items available will include photographs, sculptures, jewelry, paintings, prints, fiber art, jellys and jams, candles, baskets, Christmas ornaments and decorations, and much more.
At 1 p.m. on Saturday Santa will arrive by horse and carriage. He will be singing songs and telling stories until 3 p.m. in the ballroom. Outside of the museum, both Saturday and Sunday, Native American fire starters will be performing.
On Sunday, outside the museum, the Blue Mountain Praise Team from Blue Mountain Community Church, under the direction of Jennifer Eckhart, will be performing Christmas Carols. Inside Tony T. and the Holt Sisters will perform from 2-4 p.m.
An artist's reception will be held from 4-5 p.m. on Sunday. Refreshments will be available for purchase throughout the weekend.
The bazaar was organized by artists Tecu'Mish MunHa'Ke and Sandy Crum of Indian River Art Guild, in memory of Elizabeth Doddy who died of cancer on Dec. 6, 2008 at the age of 50. Doddy was a folk artist who was very involved with the Carbon County Art League, serving as secretary from 2004-2006. She gained fame at Musikfest and the American Folk Art Museum in New York City.
"Elizabeth was a volunteer for Soldiers' Angels and she introduced Tecu'Mish and I to it," says Crum. "Tecu'Mish felt this was something to investigate and see if we wanted to support it."
Soldiers' Angels was started in 2003 by Patti Patton-Bader whose son was deployed to Iraq, and expressed concern to her that some of the soldiers he served with did not received any mail or support from home. Patton-Bader began writing a few extra letters, and within a few short months, it had grown to an "Internet community with thousands of Angels worldwide."
Soldiers' Angels has numerous programs that include "adopting" a deployed soldier; sending home-baked treats to deployed units; sending cards to soldiers and their families; providing support for wounded soldiers and their families; and providing assistance to these heroes who may need help at home, to name just a few.
"We thought this would be a good time to do something in Elizabeth's memory and support Soldiers' Angels at the same time," says Crum.
Money for Soldiers' Angels will be raised through the sale of $2 chances that will allow the purchaser to win prizes, and also vote for their favorite artist and favorite costume. For each chance sold, $1 will go to Soldiers' Angels and $1 will go to the local food bank.
Funding to help cover the expense of the crafts bazaar came from a $1,000 Hotel Excise Tax Grant, and helped pay for fliers, signs, posters, mailings, and other advertising.
This is the fourth scheduled event this year by MunHa'Ke and Crum to raise money for Soldiers' Angels. At the first three this year, they were nearly washed out with rain. They are looking forward to a good turnout and response to make up for Mother Nature's lack of cooperation.
"We are hoping everyone comes out and supports the troops, because they need us," says Crum. "They are fighting for our freedom and we need to support them"