Holiday shoppers swarmed the Black Sheep Weavers Fiber Guild's holiday sale and the Warm N Cozy Bazaar in Hartland this weekend to get their hands on unique items made by local artists.
"We don't have anything like this in my neighborhood," Georgeann Edford, of Bingham Farms, said Friday about the Black Sheep Weavers 28th annual sale. "It's unbelievable, so much talent in one room, it's phenomenal."
By Friday evening, the Black Sheep Weavers — held at the Hartland Insurance Agency — had more than 200 sales, a new record according to organizers of the event. The sale continued Saturday.
"People look forward to it every year," said Nadine Cloutier, treasurer for the Black Sheep Weavers Fiber Guild. "They're either collectors of a certain type of thing or a certain artists work. ... It's generational, multi-generational."
The Warm N Cozy Bazaar celebrated its 30th anniversary Saturday with a day-long event. By 10 a.m., the parking lot of the the Hartland Education Support Service Center was completely full. Cars were lined up and down Highland Road (M-59), forcing patrons to become creative with their parking while others used a shuttle service from Grille 23.
"I drive a 4x4, so I just ramped it on up there," said Parshallville resident Jessie Campbell. "No shuttle for me."
Spread out over the old high school building, the customers inside had more space to move around and were able to explore more than 200 booths filled with crafts, artwork and bakery items that ranged from recycled art to holiday decorations. Groups crowded areas with free chocolate samples.
The bazaar attracted more 2,100 shoppers, marking an uptick from 2,000 who attended last year — a total which organizers say makes it the largest holiday bazaar in Livingston County.
While many shopped for holiday gifts for others, some patrons also found things for themselves as well.
For instance, Renee Solano-Szuba, creator of ShaeJus Soaps, said many of her customers buy her product for themselves. "Once you try handmade, cold-processed soap, you never wanna go back," she said. "So a lot of them buy it for themselves."
Crafters of the Warm N Cozy said it's the loyal customers who support their work on a yearly basis that allow them to keep showcasing their wares.
"We bring in some new stuff, but we have the old faithfuls that we keep every year," said Mary Waterbury, a 20-year veteran crafter of the Warm N Cozy Bazaar.
Nancy Slavin, of Canton, has a 15-year tradition of coming to the bazaar with her daughter.
"We just like to come see everything," she said. "We have craft shows by us but this surpasses them all. These are all local crafters, it's just the best."
Becky Leslie, a Linden resident who attended the Black Sheep Weavers sale, is already thinking ahead to next year.
"I love it," Leslie said. "And we heard that they were jammed up earlier, so next year I'll be here right at the starting time."
Editor's note: This story has been updated on Dec. 5 to reflect this year's attendance figures at the Warm N Cozy Bazaar.