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Very Merry Holiday Fair returns to Baraboo

December 5, 2018

There’s a story behind every item for sale at the Very Merry Holiday Fair, and artisans will be on hand to tell all.

The 12th annual fair will be held Friday and Saturday at Baraboo Arts and Banquet Hall. The pre-Christmas tradition will feature 60 authors, potters, bakers, jewelers, fiber artists, cheesemakers and other artisans.

“The artisans making the goods will tell how each piece is created,” said organizer Char ter Beest-Kudla.

Shoppers can sample wine from Baraboo Bluff Winery and snack on butternut squash soup, fruit and cheese samplers, and other treats available for purchase at the Very Merry Café. Drawings will be held both days.

The event has become a tradition, attracting 3,000 shoppers each year.

“We want to make it fun, we want people to be smiling when they come in and smiling when they leave,” ter Beest-Kudla said. “We hope to bring thousands of people to Baraboo.”

They will find artwork, crafts and books that make unique Christmas gifts. Those feeling artistic can, for $10, visit a new Make and Take booth and create their own one-of-a-kind painted treasures. The first 500 patrons each day will get free shopping bags.

“I thought it would be fun to add something where you are the artist,” ter Beest-Kudla said.

North Freedom artist Marlys Greenhalgh is making a transition from shopper to vendor this year. In her first year setting up shop at the fair, she’ll sell two new winter-themed woodcut print designs as well as oil paintings and card packs.

“It is festive and there is a large selection of unique creations that make special gifts or decorations,” Greenhalgh said.

Nonprofits will take part in the event, with the Boys & Girls Club selling the “mini-Picassos” its members created -- with help from local metalsmith Frank Kudla -- to raise money. First Night will sell $5 tickets to its upcoming New Year’s Eve event.

The fair, presented by Helen’s Daughters Studio, will be part of a bustling pre-holiday weekend in Baraboo. Just up the hill, Downtown Baraboo Inc. will present horse-drawn wagon rides, carolers and visits with Santa Claus.

The fair and the downtown district will offer a nostalgic setting for holiday shopping, ter Beest-Kudla said. “The more things that are happening, the more people get to see what a great community this is,” ter Beest-Kudla said. “This is a creative community.”

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