“Buy American from local crafters and support veterans’ programs” was the slogan for the American Legion Post 419 Veterans Craft Faire Nov. 12. Chairperson Cindy Newman, married to an Air Force veteran, is passionate about the value of shopping locally.
“The bottom line is to support people in your local community by shopping local craft fairs, which provide quality gifts at reasonable prices without the excess packaging and shipping costs of imported products,” said Newman, who has chaired the event since she launched it about eight years ago.
“I began with no experience crafting or putting on a fair, so I went around and visited other fairs,” said Newman. “The crafting community has the warmest, most sharing people you’ll ever meet. They welcomed me with open arms and shared their knowledge and experience to help me make this veterans craft fair successful.”
About 40 vendors packed the American Legion hall and parking lot at 958 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara. Newman explained that it was the vendors’ fees ($40 per spot plus $10 for a table), opportunity drawings and profits from the sale of lunch and snacks that benefit programs such as Post 419’s Assistance and Rehabilitation Fund for local veterans.
Craftspeople at the fair included veterans who had taken up hobbies for fun and to supplement their incomes.
“I’m here to support veterans. The American Legion is a good organization,” said photographer Frank Justus, a Navy veteran from Salinas. Justus started selling nature and landscape prints after he retired (www.frankjustusphotography.com).
San Jose residents Tex Tyner, a retired Marine who served in Vietnam, and his wife, Candy Tyner, are members of Post 419. They put tiny lights in empty liquor bottles to make decorative “Lights in a Bottle” (firstname.lastname@example.org).
“I’m being supported and supporting veterans’ causes at the same time,” said Tyner. “It’s fun, and it gives me something to do. My wife and I do it together.”
Not all the artists were veterans. Kathy Guerrera in Alviso (email@example.com) makes magnetic jewelry claimed to have health benefits such as improving blood circulation and reducing arthritic pain. Liz Simmons also sells her handmade women’s accessories on Etsy: www.etsy.com/shop/Lizzies.
“Black Sheep Brush Strokes” artist Callie Russell in Sunnyvale paints custom portraits. View her controversial acrylic painting of President Elect Donald Trump on her website: www.blacksheepbrushstrokes.com. Buy it on Ebay.
“Trump would either hate it or buy it,” said Russell.
The American Legion is an organization of veterans helping veterans and their families It was established in Paris after WWI in 1919. American Legion Post 419 (www.alpost419ca.org) was chartered in 1932.