‘Tis the season for holiday craft fairs. And the one held Saturday, Dec. 1 at Abington Heights Middle School wasn’t just about shopping, but also about giving back.
The Abington Heights Education Association held the event as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund. Vendors included food trucks, crafters, artisans and direct sales merchants. The AHEA Craft Fair returned after a five-year hiatus and was organized by Heather Savaro. This was her first year running the event.
“The craft fair raises money for the scholarship fund that goes to Abington Heights graduates who are going into education,” Savaro said. “I was a recipient of that scholarship in ’96.”
Savaro explained how much the school and receiving the scholarship meant to her. After graduating from AHHS, she went on to get her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education and is now a first grade teacher at South Abington Elementary.
The funds raised by the AHEA decades ago directly impacted Savaro.
“That is why I wanted to help bring back the craft fair,” she said. “It’s a way to give back.”
The AHEA raises money throughout the year for the scholarship fund. A 5K is held in the spring and teachers also plan events that give to scholarships. Teachers also signed up to be a part of the Dec. 1 craft fair.
Bellette Green, owner of Creative Tinkering, is a chemistry and biology teacher at AHHS. The business name came from her nickname, Tinker. When Green starts to ‘tinker’ with materials that come her way, something beautiful emerges.
“This is my second craft show,” she said. “I’ve done crafts ever since I was a young girl. I grew up in an area of California where I was exposed to a lot of Native American jewelry and beading. That influenced me a lot. Recently I’ve been experimenting with wire work.”
Green and her husband of 32 years, Barry, live in North Abington Township.
Another teacher who was spotted at the AHEA craft fair, was David Temprine. When he’s not teaching third grade at Clarks Summit Elementary, Temprine is crafting wine bottle candles. NEPA candles began in 2017 when Temprine experimented with recycled wine bottles and clean burning soy wax.
“The bottles are from local restaurants. I score and cut them. The upcycled bottles are sanded and polished before getting new life as candles. They are all soy wax candles, which provides a cleaner burn and less smoke. It’s a great candle for allergy sufferers.”
Temprine selects bottles with interesting labels and takes time and care to create a quality product. Seasonal scents like ‘NEPA Christmas’ and ‘Snickerdoodle’ were available at the AHEA Craft Fair.
The fair featured a variety of products and unique gift items. Chris Hall of Hall Woodworking, had custom pens made from wood foraged from all over the world. He also had pens crafted from deer antlers, Jack Daniels’ barrel staves and colorful acrylics. Each piece had a story.
Lisa Rosencrance of South Abington Township showcased paper ornaments and gifts. Her business Always Give A Scrap began after she crafted thousands of paper flowers for her wedding. She now consults with brides to produce custom bouquets, boutonnieres and décor. Some feature meaningful elements such as brooches or buttons passed down from family members.
“It’s something I just started experimenting with and then it grew. I use all kinds of papers, but primarily work with recycled materials.”
Rosencrance has a full-time job while running Always Give A Scrap on the side and balancing life as a new mom. With baby Emma, and the support of her husband and family, she is enjoying this hobby turned business.
Always Give a Scrap, Hall Woodworking, NEPA Candles, Creative Tinkering and other vendors seen at the AHEA Craft Fair can be found on Facebook.
Craft fair attendees not only picked up gifts for loved ones on their list and satisfied cravings at the food vendors, they also supported local artisans, including teachers and helped raise money for future educators.
Even Santa came out for pictures with little shoppers.
The craft fair came full circle for Savaro, who as a previous recipient of the AHEA scholarship, and now a teacher, enlisted the support of other teachers as vendors, and was able to organize a fundraiser that will benefit future educators.
Savaro says she plans to bring the event back next year.
“It was wonderful to see everyone come together to support such a great cause,” she said. “The AHEA members who volunteered, the vendors, the local businesses who donated and the patrons all had a hand in making this such a successful event.”