By Christina Whiting
This weekend, Homer Council on the Arts transforms Homer High School’s commons and gymnasium into a winter wonderland holiday bazaar. The annual Nutcracker Faire offers shoppers the opportunity to browse the aisles of local arts, crafts, educational items and food, as tiny ballerinas, mice, flowers and candy canes make their way through the hallways in between ballet performances.
Support a community event
“It takes a total of over 4,000 hours between staff and volunteer time to create the Faire each year,” said Festival Coordinator Cindy Nelson. “We have many volunteers, from those who map out the commons and gym, to security, loading and unloading vendor wares, music/stage coordination and food preparation. It’s a whole-year process. We start organizing the next year’s Faire as soon as this year’s ends.”
Photographs with Santa
Santa will be on hand to greet children of all ages Saturday and Sunday noon to 4 p.m. Bring your Christmas wish list to the Faire and share it with Santa Claus while having your photograph taken by a professional photographer. Funds raised support the Girl Scouts.
Get into the holiday spirit
From the Faire’s early beginnings, Joy Steward, the original Faire coordinator, encouraged vendors to decorate their booths, rewarding them with prizes. To this day, vendors adorn booths with wreaths, lights, Christmas trees, tinsel, decorations and other festive sights. If one booth catches your eye in particular, be sure to let that vendor know you appreciate their efforts.
The Seaside Singers will sing Christmas carols throughout the building at noon on Saturday. A variety of musicians will perform on stage all weekend long.
Celebrate a Homer Tradition
From its humble beginnings as a Renaissance Faire in 1990 — created to coincide with the Nutcracker Ballet — Homer’s Nutcracker Faire is an annual holiday tradition for shoppers and vendors alike.
“The Faire is where I start my holiday shopping,” said Linda Jones. “I love being able to walk through the front doors, knowing I can get all the gifts I need in one place. And this is where my family gets our holiday portrait taken with Santa. We look forward to the Faire every year. It’s a holiday highlight and has become a tradition for my family.”
Offerings on Saturday include the Homer Ukulele group at noon, followed by Jim Gao on piano at 1 p.m. Homer High Swing Choir performs at 2 p.m., while the United Methodist Church Jubilation Bell Choir rings out at 3 p.m. Singer/songwriter Paul Holmberg and his band perform at 4 p.m., followed by the Wooden Boat Society’s Sea Shanties at 5 p.m.
Music kicks off at noon with Relatively Famous: Sunrise Kilcher-Sjoberg and Tim Quinn. Patrick Latimer plays at 1 p.m., followed by Daniel Perry and Friends at 2 p.m. Michael Murray takes the 3 p.m. slot, with Strings and Water: Lindianne Sarno and Tim Robb playing at 4 p.m.
While browsing the Faire, enjoy a taste of Homer. This year, food vendors include: Vida’s Thai Food, The Original Gourmet Ice Cream Bars, Inc., Red Bird Kitchen. New this year, the Homer High School Swim Club is having a potato bar, serving up hot and delicious baked potatoes with all the fixings and warm up with the high school’s coffee/espresso booth.
Shop local at variety of vendors
“We have 100 vendors, from established artists to emerging artists, crafters and local non-profits,” Cindy Nelson said. “Shoppers return year after year to browse favorite artists and vendors.”
The Faire is a one-stop shopping extravaganza. Shoppers can browse while supporting local artists, nonprofits and business owners.
“In keeping with our original mission, our goal is that all items sold at the Faire be made on the Kenai Peninsula,” Nelson explained. “There are a few nonprofits we have made exceptions for.”
Several vendors have participated in the Faire since the very first one in 1990, including Gary Lyon with paintings, Paul Dungan with pottery and Eddie Wood with musical instruments. Other long-time vendors include Marsha Rouggley of Sweet Berries Jam, Susan Houlihan with Alpenglow Skin Care, Marie Herdegen with Morning Wind Pottery, Kathee Kiefer with Luxurious Lathers — and the list goes on and on.
Vendors this year include Indra Black of Little Dipper Designs with her clothing for kids, Dennis Anderson of Night Trax Photography and his photos of the northern lights, Ruby Haigh of Jars of Clay Pottery, and Scott Miller of Wooden Diamonds with his inlaid wooden jewelry.
From pottery to candles, clothing to photography, paintings to skin care, jewelry to fiber arts, bazookas to hula-hoops, and Thai food to ice cream, there truly is something for everyone at the Faire.
For more information on the Faire, call 235-4288 or visit homerart.org.
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