Chris Hostetter loves the outdoors and, in particular, watching birds. So when the former stay-at-home mother found her home empty, she decided she needed a hobby involving the outdoors.
"My husband has a hobby. So with the kids gone, I thought I would focus on finding one," she said.
On Saturday, as her husband ice fished in Buena Vista, Hostetter had a collection of unique birdhouses for sale at the Centennial Mall's Winter Arts & Crafts Show.
"It's only my second show," she said. "I plan to travel a lot with this new hobby."
Hostetter traveled from Eagle for the two-day show, which ended Saturday.
Micah Egan didn't have to worry about the icy roads to man his booth.
"My studio is about 300 meters from here," said the owner of Burly Brothers Unique Log Furniture. "This is a nice venue and opportunity for local businesses and artists to display their work."
Egan said he didn't count on large numbers of sales for his Aspen log furniture, but his plan for the weekend was to make contacts.
"Usually with my stuff, which is more expensive, the interested customer has to go back to headquarters and check with the boss," he said, referring to the need to confer with a spouse back home before getting approved to purchase one of his products.
This was Egan's third year at the local show. He said that as long as Western Colorado sticks with its agrarian and rural roots, there will be a market for such shows.
"I was down in Parachute this year, and it was crazy how many people came to the show," he said. "The big push in that show was that nothing was foreign made. People around here really care about that."
The mall was filled with more than 75 booths with health products, artwork, jewelry, woodwork and food booths, to name a few.
David Morris has set up shop at the show enough to have return customers looking for his ceramics.
"There's one now," he said about a customer picking up a couple of items she had selected earlier. "Certain people come and look for me."
Morris' self-described "eccentric ceramics" are locally produced and locally sold.
"This is the only show I attend," he said. "It's just a hobby."
It's a hobby that might be nearing an obsession.
"My wife pointed out to me that I've been spending almost every night on it," said Morris, who teaches at Craig Middle School and also has published books of poetry.
He said he comes to the show for more than making some extra cash.
"It's fun because lots of the community comes out," he said.
The community exposure is good for nonprofit organizations that set up shop, too. Vicki Burns was selling "Meals in a Jar" at a booth for Habitat for Humanity.
"This is really the only fundraiser we have, other than our collection jars in local businesses," said the organization's treasurer. "We are hoping to raise money to buy a lot and build a duplex for our next project."
Burns was at the booth most of Friday but was going to get relieved by other volunteers Saturday.
"It was pretty steady yesterday," she said. "This is a good opportunity for local nonprofits to get their names out there and raise a little money."
According to Centennial Mall Web site, nonprofit organizations, senior citizens and minors get half off the $50 booth fee for the show.