The Lions Club Christmas Fest continues Saturday
MILTON - On any given weekend, the place to shop for a wild variety of local goods is out at the Milton Flea Market.
But on Saturday, West Virginia Pumpkin Park will give one of the state’s largest flea markets a run for its money.
The Lions Clubs of Lesage and Southeast Huntington team up for the 41st annual holiday arts and crafts show which is getting a makeover this year and a new location.
The newly named Lions Club Annual Christmas Festival will feature dozens of regional vendors from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 out at West Virginia Pumpkin Park in Milton.
Cost for the fest is $6. All proceeds go to the Lions Club charities. The Lions Clubs (46,000 local clubs and more than 1.7 million members in 190 countries around the world) support causes internationally that help fight diabetes and childhood cancer, that support vision and the environment.
Locally, the festival’s main organizer, the Lesage Lions are excited to re-energize the festival after it had dwindled to 31 crafters last year at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena Conference Center.
Karen Hall-Dundas, treasurer of the Lesage Lions, said they have 59 booths signed up for this year with a waiting list to get into the two side-by-side buildings - the Milton Performing Arts Center and the 4H/FFA Building at the Pumpkin Park. That number is nearly double the number of booths of last year.
“We have 59 booths and they range from Amish cheese and a general store kind of set up to Apple Butter and Cupcakes,” Hall-Dundas said. “We have other vendors that have jewelry and homemade clothing and knitted and crocheted items and candles, quilts, and a great variety of really nice craft things.”
Just a few of the vendors include The Ugly Cupcake, Quilted and More, Connie’s Stained Glass Creations, Creek Willow Primitives, Sew Sow Crafts, K&K Spoon Jewelry, Sherwood Forest Crafts, Name Rings by Kay and WV Quilts.
Rhea Halloran, president of Lesage Lions, said with the move they are hoping for a big crowd of new people to check out the festival and do some local Christmas shopping.
“This is our first year at the Pumpkin Park and we made the change to have free parking and a lot more access to the building and it is centrally located between Charleston and Huntington to try and get a bigger draw of people,” Halloran said.
One of the new things this year is a pancake breakfast with Santa that will take place from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1. Cost for the Pancake Breakfast is $7, $5 for children ages 4 to 12 and free for those under 4.
The Lions Club pre-Christmas arts and crafts show dates back to the snow-piled winter of 1977.
With a lot of borrowed items and assistance from the Capitol City Lions, John Pinkerman and his fellow Lions Club members in Southeast Huntington and Lesage fought off rain, ice, snow and frozen temps, that first year to somehow make $600 and haven’t looked back.
The annual show has since raised between $3,000 to $12,000 for local charities.
“We help provide glasses and eye exams, we help people with hearing aids and with diabetes, and we try to give back scholarships to high school students and help Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and our Cox Landing Library gets help as well,” Hall-Dundas said. “Everything we raise goes back into the community. It is all spent back in the community.”