Those looking for a way to get a head start on their Christmas shopping need look no further and can even buy local while doing so on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., when the Bethany Beach Fire Company’s Ladies Auxiliary will hold its annual Artisan Festival.
“My daughter is the one who came up with the idea years ago. She thought it would be a good fundraiser,” said event co-chair Martha Lowe of her daughter Kristen Steele.
“It’s our only fundraiser that the ladies themselves have. It’s a way for us to make money,” added Barbara Brown, who’s co-chairing the event with Lowe.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the fire hall in downtown Bethany and will also have various food items available for purchase throughout the day, including chili, hotdogs, shrimp salad, rum cake, Key lime pies and cookies.
“When the fire company holds an event, there’s usually food involved. We have lunch available; it’s really good. We have quiches and homemade apple pies,” said Brown. “That’s getting to be our signature thing: our homemade apple pies. They sell out within an hour. They’re really a big hit.”
“We do a lot of food items,” added Lowe. “My daughter raises her own chickens and uses her own eggs in the quiches. We’ll have two different kinds of soups. We have a lot going on.”
The main feature of the festival will be 40 vendors selling various handmade items.
“It’ll be everything from pottery to clothing, to jewelry, to photography. It’s a wide variety,” said Lowe.
One such vendor is local artist Dawn Pierro, who creates an eclectic collection of jewelry.
“I have participated in it since the very beginning,” said Pierro, who has been making jewelry for more than a decade. “I just did beadwork. Then I took some classes. I was really interested in metalwork and soldering and hammering metals and etching. I do a little bit of eclectic work. I have a lot of different medias I work with.”
Pierro’s jewelry features enamelwork and etched jewelry, and she “dabbles” in a bit of everything. Although she shows at various festivals, both locally and out of state, Pierro said that shows like the Artisan Festival are essential for local artists such as herself.
“I think, especially, shows like this that are local — they feed the local art community. They give them the boost that they need and the recognition that they need. There’re a lot of really talented artists in this area that might not be able to get to be in the bigger art shows. This show pretty much is all locals, and it supports a really good cause.”
Brown said that the ladies’ auxiliary exists to help support the fire department in their efforts to keep the community safe.
“Anything that the firemen do that we can help with, that’s what we do. We support the men,” she said, adding that the ladies help in a variety of ways, including catering various company fundraisers and selling T-shirts on the boardwalk.
Brown added the Ladies’ Auxiliary has approximately 20 members and is always looking for new members.
“It gives you a nice sense of community. The ladies that we have are very, very dear. They’re all wonderful women who donate their time and really put their hearts in it. It’s just a great organization to just be a part of,” said Brown. “We have a lot of fun. We have a nice group of ladies. We may work long hours, but we thoroughly enjoy it.”
“We do a lot of work, but it’s fun because you do it as a group,” said Lowe.
Lowe said that the group is hopeful that the community will come out and support its local artists and the local fire company.
“We just hope a lot of people in the area come and visit and support our local artists,” said Lowe. “It is a community event, and it’s a community fire company.”
“It’s a hometown feeling when you come to the firehouse. It’s one way to peek into the firehouse and see what’s going on. All the trucks are outside that day. It keeps what the fire department does front and center in people’s minds,” said Brown.
For more information, or to apply to become a member of the ladies auxiliary, call (302) 539-8169 or (302) 245-7142.