Holiday music wafting over the speakers at the Centennial Mall is a subtle reminder that the winter giving season is quickly approaching.
On Friday and Saturday, visitors are invited to ease into the holiday spirit while taking in a community tradition during the first of Craig's Holiday Craft Shows.
"It's a good social day for everyone," said Vicki Hall, property manager at the mall. "It's kind of a kick-off to get people geared up. There's a great variety of gifts and most of them are handmade."
More than 80 vendors will cram into mall halls this weekend, sporting items ranging from paintings and woodwork to baked goods. Vendors traveling from the Front Range and others from Wyoming may help to bring in goods that keep residents from traveling long distances in search of unique holiday gifts.
And the majority of vendors from Craig's nearby areas plan to display a wide variety of goods that reflect the local charm, Hall said.
Kitty Webster of Craig, for example, has been diligently preparing handmade rope baskets and mirrors for the show.
Webster first became immersed in the trade of shaping rope formerly used for wrangling cattle into lovely baskets, vases and frames a few years ago.
"My dad says it's a waste of good rope but look at all the amazing colors that show up," she said.
Having a brother who ropes cattle and a sister who lives in Texas lends Webster a "good source of ropes," she said.
Lately, the time she puts in to the trade is adding up.
"I spend four or five days a week and about eight to nine hours a days working on this," Webster said.
It seems the effort that local crafters put into their work pays off because the popularity of Craig's Holiday Craft Shows has increased over the years, Hall said.
"I get a lot of phone calls from people who want to sell at the show because they've heard about how popular it is," she said.
Business from visitors shopping at the fair often overlaps into the town's surrounding shops, Hall added.
"Safeway just asked us if we were doing the craft fair again because they always get swamped when we do," she said. "I'm sure it helps business in the whole town when we have that many people visiting and out shopping."
Vendor space for this weekend's fair are full but those interested in selling wares may be able to reserve a spot in the banquet room at Beef & Peppers.
Some proceeds from this weekend's fair will go toward upcoming shows leading up to the holidays. On Dec. 12-13 senior citizens and non-profit groups can sell their wares without footing a booth fee. Fees are $25 a day or $50 for both days.
Amy Hatten can be reached at 824-7031 or firstname.lastname@example.org.