The Riverside Plaza in Tarboro was filled with holiday shoppers Saturday. Unlike in most malls, the shoppers weren't going in stores; they were perusing the handcrafted wares of local vendors.
"I'm just tickled with the turnout. They were here earlier than 10 and we've had traffic all day," said event coordinator Robin Cunningham. "I've had several of the vendors ask me if we could do it again, so I'm thinking about doing it for each season, maybe four times a year."
"I thought it was real nice. I wish Tarboro would do more stuff like this to get the community involved," said Shannon Peaden of Tarboro. The thrill of the event for her 2-year-old son Joshua Peaden was meeting Santa Claus.
"He likes Santa. He saw him a while ago and he ran around chasing him and waving at him," Peaden said. Her son asked for Elmo and Thomas the Train this year.
Shelby Holland of Tarboro enjoyed looking at the holiday wreaths at the event.
"It's really nice. I didn't expect this much to be out here," she said. Cindy Hayes of Greenville was pleased with her findings at the craft show.
"I just bought some decorative garland, which I can't wait to go home and put up," she said. Her 4-year-old granddaughter, Taylor Getsinger, picked out a beaded necklace made by Dale Hill of Rocky Mount.
Jean Howerin of Tarboro sold her jewelry made from genuine stones and hand-knotted pearls at the craft show. She donates all the proceeds from her sales to Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society's largest annual fundraiser.
"I had a friend who died of breast cancer [Midge Lingg] and I did it in memory of her. SInce then, I have had breast cancer," Howerin said. "I feel like I'm helping somebody else...It has been one of the greatest blessings of my life."
Jams, jellies and pickles from AJ's Country Living out of Halifax were among the offerings at the craft show. For those unsure of which offering to select, peach salsa was available for sampling.
"I think it's a good turnout," said Apryle Kight of AJ's Country Living. "It's good to support the local community."
Cunningham coordinated the craft show with the hope of bringing some attention to one of the only businesses remaining in the mall -- the Parkhill Cinema. The doors of the theater were open to customers at the show.
While shoppers in Tarboro supported local artists, over in Pinetops at the old Pinetops Heritage Bank, another first-time holiday craft show was underway.
"It was a great turnout," said Alan Norman, one of the artists in the show, who does paintings on skateboard decks. Among his paint designs at the craft show were a blue-ring octopus, Pinky the Mouse and an abstract criss-cross design with neon green, black and white colors. Every one of the boards at the show was functional, with the exception of a carved board.
"This is the first I've seen of custom painting on decks. It's good work," said Derek Boseman, of Fayetteville who previously bought a board for his son, who uses the board as a wall hanger.
Other offerings at the show, which featured artists and craftsman only from the Pinetops, Macclesfield and Crisp area, were pottery by Brown Holloman, decoy duck paintings by Graham Royall, photography by Watson Brown, metal jewelry by event coordinator Cora Wooten, and crocheted scarves by JoEllen Pollard.