Crafts Show Provides Chance to Earn Extra Income

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Wreaths, sweaters, rugs, jam. You name it, somebody's probably selling it.

"I just love the craft shows. They have different things, interesting things, something homemade is kind of fun," said Mary Mendlik.

Thousands of people perused the goods offered at the Fall Festival of Crafts in Kearney Saturday. For many of the more than 250 vendors, these craft shows are opportunities to turn their hobbies into a little extra cash.

"I became a stay-at-home mom and needed some extra income so my mom and dad and I started working together," said Lisa Harwarger, who has been selling at craft shows for a decade.

Nancy Zaruba was in a similar situation.

"I've been housebound pretty much the last couple of years with eye surgery and stuff so I couldn't work anymore, so I had to find something to do at home," she said.

"More or less for a hobby. If I sell any, I get my money back and a little bit more," said Barry Griess of Phillipsburg, Kansas.

And vendors said shows during the holiday season can be especially profitable.

"A lot of it depends on the location we're at, but we do a lot of big sales," said Harwarger.

Some vendors estimate they sell 50 percent or more of their goods at holiday shows. Studies predict that shopper spending will be up this season, and craft show vendors said they're already seeing better sales this year in comparison to the past few years.

"When the economy was bad, ours sales were down. This year our sales have been up tremendously," Harwarger said.

It's a kick-off to holiday shopping that in turn gives vendors some extra spending money.