There are those people who can make anything with their hands. Homemade soap, wood bowls, stained glass, knit scarves, candles, painted boxes - nothing fazes these folks. But the rest of us need help. Fortunately, this weekend kicks off many of the area's biggest holiday craft markets.
Yuletide is one of the oldest, most highly anticipated exhibitions in the region. For folks who missed Inland Craft Warnings and the art festivals of summer, this is one last chance to grab a beautiful, handcrafted objet d'art before the holidays. Yuletide takes place at the Spokane Art School, just north of Riverfront Park, for three whole days -- but if you want both a great time and dibs on the best stuff, consider attending the Gala Opening Night Party on Thursday night, where you'll be treated to fine wines, hors d'oeuvres and desserts from Puttin' on the Ritz.
Yuletide is Friday, Dec. 5, 10 am-8 pm; Saturday, Dec. 6, 10 am-6 pm; and Sunday, Dec. 7, noon-4 pm. Free. Gala Opening Night Party, Thursday, Dec. 4, 5-9 pm; Tickets: $35; $30, SAS members. Spokane Art School, 920 N. Howard St. Call: 328-0900
Even in the middle of winter, the Idaho Panhandle is still one magnificent place to be. Forests of enormous fir and pine cone right up to the roadsides, and the air carries the smoky tang of someone's far-off woodstove. This weekend, Hill's Resort on Priest Lake is a worthy drive away, offering huckleberry confections, wassail, handmade jewelry, pottery, clothing and more. Featured artists include Tom Holman, Steve Roley, Chris Hoffman and a bevy of new local craftspeople.
The German tradition of Christkindlmarkt (aka Kris Kringle Markt) is alive and well in several locations this year. In Leavenworth, Christkindlmarkt is celebrated the old European way with an open-air market, live entertainment, food booths, and of course, more crafts than you can shake a loaf of dark Bavarian rye at. Closer to home, Loon Lake's Kris Kringle Markt is not only a fun shopping opportunity - it also raises funds for a good cause. Proceeds go toward the preservation and operation of Loon Lake's Old Schoolhouse. Look for the finest in locally made arts and crafts, fresh evergreen decorations, poinsettias, gift items and more.
Christkindlmarkt is Friday, Nov. 28, and Saturday, Nov. 29, 11 am-8 pm; and on Sunday, Nov. 30, 11 am-4 pm. Free. Front Street Park, Leavenworth, Wash. Call: (509) 548-8153. Kris Kringle Markt is Friday, Nov. 28-Sunday, Nov. 30, 10 am-4 pm; on Tuesdays, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9, 6-8 pm; and on Saturdays, Dec. 6 and Dec. 13, 10 am-4 pm. Old Schoolhouse is located a half- mile west of the junction of Hwy. 395 and Hwy. 292, at 400 Colville Rd., Loon Lake, Wash. Call: 233-2222
Another good cause market is the Festival of Fair Trade, which helps support small farmers, artisan cooperatives, and sustainable local economies in some of the lowest-income regions in the world. Ganesh Himal brings handmade silver jewelry, hand-knit wool, hemp, drums, carpets, copper and more; be sure to check out Global Folk Art (Spokane's only Fair Trade store), Mata Ortiz Pueblo-style pottery, wood carvings, Mexican folk art and Tarahumara Indian baskets as well.
Friday, Nov. 29-Sunday, Nov. 30, 10 am-6 pm. Community Building, 35 W. Main Ave. Call: 838-0664
And finally, the Spokane Marketplace is settling into its new location and is open year-round. They are putting on a Christmas Crafts Expo on Saturday, Dec. 13, 9 am-4 pm, that will include handmade gifts, food items and other artisan crafts for the holidays. Call: 456-0100