A festive display at last year's Chris Cringle Craft Show. Photo by Becky Smith

A festive display at last year’s Chris Cringle Craft Show. Photo by Becky Smith

This weekend, the 35th Annual Chris Cringle Arts & Crafts Show returns to in Champaign. Artists from around the area gather to raise money for many of the projects of Heartland Decorative Artists.

The Illinois Heartland Decorative Artists is a group of 68 painters who sponsor different events, such as Chris Cringle.

“This is our 35th year. That is a long time for an arts and crafts show to survive. We have to think that we are doing something right,” Chairman of the show Sondra Sipes said.

This year, the show is at Fluid Event Center, located at 601 N. Country Fair Drive, Champaign. This Friday, Nov. 7, the show starts and 3 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m. On Saturday, the show begins 9 a.m. and will close by 5 p.m. Admission is $5, and each attendee will receive five tickets to be used for the door-prize drawings. Children 12 and under get in for free with a parent. Tickets are available at the ticket office of the Fluid Event Center, which will open at 2:30 p.m. on Friday and at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Sipes says a portion of the proceeds from the event will go to an art scholarship that the Heartland Decorative Artist supports each year. The scholarship is for high school seniors who will be entering college as Art majors, and application letters will go out in the spring to high schools throughout Illinois. Interested students can then apply and send in art samples. A selection committee will choose the winner, and the scholarship money is sent directly to the school that the winner attends.

The Heartland Decorative Artists sponsor a number of local programs and causes, including area food banks, school back pack program, nursing home activity programs, art exhibits at county fairs, art seminars and painting displays to promote decorative art.

“We have quality vendors who offer quality products for sale to the visitors to our show,” Sipes said. “We have vendors who have been with the show for a lot of years and have changed and improved their product over the years to keep up with the times.”

There will be 155 booths and 90 vendors, and more than half of the vendors are returning to the fair after participating last year. Returning vendors to the show are displaying products such as: graphic art work, leather work, wooded items, Christmas ornaments, decorated Christmas trees, doll clothes, painted items, pet treats, metal art, floral arrangements, journals, rugs, jewelry, painted gourds, cards, magnets, hair bows, quilts, decorated sweat shirts, stained glass, baby accessories, carved duck decoys and paper crafts.

The Fluid Event Center is located on a single level, and there will be a rest area, as well as some refreshments at the show.

“I think the show has improved over the years. As our reputation has grown and spread, more vendors hear about the show and want to be part of the Chris Cringle experience. We try to make it a great experience for the vendor and the customer alike. We hope that we are doing our job,” Sipes said.

Sipes added that there will be a quilt raffle at the show. Each year, a hand-painted quilt is raffled off. This year’s quilt is decorated with snowmen and will be on display at the show. In the weeks leading up to the show, the Chris Cringle Arts & Craft Show Facebook page has had contests in which they have given away crafts like the ones that will be available at the show. To enter each contest, participants liked the Chris Cringle Facebook page, shared the picture of the craft and tagged as many friends as they wanted in the picture. The winner of each contest will pick up their prize during the show at the Illinois Heartland Decorative Artist Chapter Booth.

The Illinois Heartland Decorative Artist website,  http://ihda.us/chriscringle.html, features event information, along with vendors’ photographs of their handcrafted goods. Their Facebook page provides a glimpse of hand-crafted and one-of-a-kind gifts available for purchase for loved ones or to deck your own halls for the holidays.

The Chris Cringle Arts & Crafts Show will take place at the Fluid Event Center on Friday, Nov. 7, from 3 to 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 8, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12.

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