A festive way to kick off the holiday season


Staff Writer

POULSBO — A bolstered line-up and larger space for vendors are two of the big changes to North Kitsap High School’s 19th annual arts and craft fair, Holidayfest, to be held this weekend.

But the biggest change?

“The pies are back,” commented co-director Kristi Cordoza.

After a year’s absence, fresh-baked pie will again be on the menu at the North Kitsap Band’s food booth at this year’s event.

“(Shoppers) really missed the pie last year,” said co-director JoAnn Salwei, who os in her first year in the event’s leadership role with Cordoza. “But they’re back again.”

Pies, however, are just the beginning when it comes to the school’s biggest ASB fund-raiser of the year. Approximately 125 vendors of all kinds of arts and crafts will set up shop in the high school’s gym, commons and other large spaces. And aside from the pie, nine high school clubs and organizations will have food booths at the event, serving up everything from hamburgers to minestrone soup.

The North Kitsap High School Art Club’s booth will offer shoppers a unique opportunity as well — $5 will buy a bowl of soup, crackers, a bowl handmade by students and a cookbook.

But whatever shoppers are looking for, they’re likely to find it, Salwei added.

“You can do all of your shopping in one place,” she said.

Mary Aitchison, who has volunteered at Holidayfest for 16 of its 19 years, said the event has been successful for so long because it attracts loyal vendors and a lot of great relationships have developed as a result.

“A lot of the vendors have been coming for years — you get to know all of them,” Aitchison said. “And it’s amazing all of the talent that they contribute to it.”

But Aitchison said her favorite aspect of the event is the students.

“They help set up and help with the whole event,” she said.

The event is back to its usual size as last year’s renovations to the high school’s gymnasium and H building forced Holidayfest into the halls of the high school. Parking was also very limited a year ago.

“Because there was no parking last year, a lot of people thought we weren’t doing it,” Cordoza said.

In addition to a large selection that attracts all sorts of people from around the area, vendors look forward to the event for many other reasons.

“I look at it as a mini-vacation,” said long-time booth proprietor Barbara Sundgren, who commutes from Snohomish for the festival. “It’s a beautiful place to go.”

Sundgren’s “Stuffies” booth sells stuffed animals and characters, such as Santa Claus. Cordoza said her location is very popular, with a line of people for the majority of the day. Sundgren said she’s proud to be a part of a fair with such diversity in its crafts.

“I think it is a real high quality show with very nice things to buy,” she said. “I always do my shopping there.”

Another unique aspect Sundgren said she enjoys is the help she receives from North’s students (called elves at the event ) whom help at the fair — the seniors on Friday, sophomores Saturday and the juniors Sunday.

“The students help you in and they help you out,” Sundgren said.

The event will also have a free day care service, provided by the school’s child psychology class.

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