Pilot story and photos
by Andrea Barkan
Within an hour of doors opening to the annual Community Christmas Bazaar Saturday, Brookings-Harbor High School was flooded with shoppers buzzing between 99 arts and crafts booths.
"It's always like this," vendor Dawn Mitchell exclaimed. "Even when it's raining, it's packed."
Mitchell spun home-grown angora fiber on an antique peacock wheel while customers perused her hand-spun scarves, yarn, boot socks and more.
Mitchell raises her own giant angora bunnies in Brookings. She's been spinning for 15 years.
This was her second year at the bazaar, which she said she likes because it's local.
"It supports the local community," Mitchell said.
"It gives everybody an opportunity to showcase themselves," she added.
"It also gives people a chance to see what is available locally."
That's exactly why sisters Lori Botnen and Pam Deraita, of Brookings, came to the bazaar.
"You can buy local, homemade stuff," Deraita said.
"I always get a majority of my Christmas presents here," Botnen said. "They have some good stuff."
Botnen, who has enjoyed the bazaar for years, said she's even developed a special strategy she makes all the rounds once before opening her wallet, then goes back to buy.
Len Burton, who sells paintings and his wife's photography, said the bazaar is definitely a place where people purchase.
"It's pretty intense because it's one day," Burton said.
"And it's good timing," he said. "Christmas shopping is really getting in swing. Boy, they buy."
Shoppers Christine Pelaccio and Regina Mullen said the bazaar was bursting with affordable items of high quality.
Pelaccio added that the good deals were especially helpful for seniors on fixed incomes.
"I felt better because my money went a lot further," Pelaccio said. "I think the senior citizens benefitted as well as the general public."
The shoppers were impressed, too, with the variety of wares wood work, jewelry, baked goods, even Red Hat Society knickknacks.
"I found some darling little homemade ornament things," Mullen said. "They had some really unique things."
The South Coast Humane Society had a booth filled with myriad animal-related crafts.
"People are very responsive," volunteer Connie Anderson said. "They appreciate the fact that we have nice things here and that it goes to the animals."
Jan O'Dell brought her Castlerock Creations to the Brookings bazaar from her home in Crescent City.
O'Dell's creations included hand-crafted scarves, eye pillows and a unique Topsey-Turvey Little Red Riding Hood Doll.
O'Dell based the cloth doll on one her grandmother gave her years ago.
At first the doll simply appears to be Little Red Riding Hood. When turned upside down, however, the grandmother appears beneath skirt folds. And there's a third surprise in store the big bad wolf hides out on granny's backside.
This was O'Dell's first year selling at the bazaar.
"It's a wonderful place," she said. "A lot of traffic and great booths."