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One of my favorite things about this time of year is the lineup of local craft and vendor fairs. They start to pop up in September and October. When Halloween hits, there’s at least one (but usually more) happening in or near the Abingtons every weekend until Christmas. I attend as many as I can, which is how I kick off and often complete my holiday shopping.

My family recently enjoyed two visits from two out-of-town guests. One friend came the first weekend of October, and the other was here this past weekend. Guess where we took each of them for a Saturday morning outing in the Abingtons? The Clarks Summit Elementary Craft and Vendor Fair and the Abington Community Library’s Dorothy Boccella Holiday Marketplace,

respectively.

It was a good choice in both cases. They loved it, and so did I — maybe a little too much, considering all the purchases I made.

I’ve always been a big fan – in theory – of shopping local and supporting small businesses. But for the past few years I’ve been trying to put that theory into practice. Events like this around the holidays make it easy. Shopping becomes more meaningful when you know your money is going to local businesses, individuals and/or families who are trying to make ends meet or bring in a little extra income for the holidays.

This can be true whether you’re making a purchase from a representative of a direct sales company such as Pampered Chef, Tastefully Simple and Paparazzi — all of which I patronized at CSE — or an independent artisan with a small business such as Cakes by Imelda Flip LLC and Hall Woodworking — two of the vendors from which my family friend and I purchased items at the library.

For those who missed the CSE and Abington library events (and those who went but are looking for more), here are just some of the other area craft and vendor fairs coming up in the Abingtons:

The 36th Annual Artisans Marketplace: Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 24 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Waverly Community House, 1115 N. Abington Road, Waverly. Features area artisans and craftspeople with a vast array of one-of-a-kind items in varying mediums, from photography to woodwork. A luncheon catered by Constantino’s Catering will also be available both days from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Scout Room, and homemade desserts can be purchased in the Comm Bake Shop. Admission to the marketplace is $5 and good for both days.

Annual Holiday Craft/Vendor Show: Saturday, Nov. 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center, 179 College Ave., Factoryville. Hosted by the Factoryville Public Library and Lackawanna Trail Friends of Music, this event also features a cookie walk and basket raffles.

Dalton Fire Company Ladies Auxiliary Craft Show: Saturday, Nov. 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Dalton fire hall, 109 S. Turnpike Road. Features craft vendors, refreshments, raffles and a bake sale.

AHEA Craft Fair: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Abington Heights Middle School, 1555 Newton Ransom Blvd., Newton Township. Includes numerous direct sales vendors, handcrafted items and food trucks. Benefits a scholarship fund for students in the Abington Heights School District.

Factoryville Christmas Market: Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 8 from noon to 6 p.m. Parking is available at Lackawanna Trail Elementary Center. From there, walk across the covered bridge into this European-style Christmas market, where you can shop for original gifts, food and drinks, participate in children’s activities and more.

As I look to the holiday shopping season, the thought of mall crowds and big-box store checkout lines fills me with anxiety. But the prospects of chatting with local artisans as I purchase their wares and wandering through the small shops in downtown Clarks Summit gives me something to look forward to.

I know where I’ll be doing the majority of my shopping this Christmas.

Contact the writer:

ebaumeister@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9185, ext. 3492