Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Local News

Crafts, Cookies, and Karen’s Café Coming for NMCC Fair

The North Madison Congregational Church Holiday Craft Fair returns on Saturday, Dec. 4 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. As the church celebrates more than 25 years of crafts, cookies, and Karen’s Café, it will transform two floors of classroom and community rooms to display the works of more than two dozen craft vendors from all over Connecticut.

According to the church, many of the crafters have been part of this event for years, while others are new to this year’s fair and bring some exciting new ideas and items to the event.

Organizers said the craft fair is a great way to shop local and leave the stress of supply chains behind, as there will be a wide variety of crafters who display wood crafts, pottery, jewelry, Christmas decorations, soaps, knitted items, sweets, and doggie treats. Church member and vendor coordinator Christine Hopkins is celebrating 11 years of working with the vendors and, she said, crafters are what make this fair extra special for attendees.

“I’ve enjoyed seeing crafters return each year, welcoming their return along with new crafters. It’s a joy to watch customers shop and buy their crafts,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins said vendors also participate in the Junior Youth Group’s raffle, where each crafter donates a craft item and all proceeds go to the Madison Food Pantry.

Hopkins also works with the youth groups who take and deliver lunch orders to the crafters from Karen’s Café, making it easy for them to be on hand to talk with customers about their crafts. The name “Karen’s Café” is a tribute to a beloved NMCC member who passed away years ago, Karen Gardner.

Gardner originated the idea of using church’s Harvest Dinner turkey leftovers to make pot pies. She also created the recipe for event’s signature cranberry chutney, served along with the delicious turkey pot pies.

Melissa Blundon inherited the café from Gardner and now Blundon’s daughter, Meredith Young, has joined in to continue the family tradition. Blundon and her team make sure all of the fair’s tasty offering are fresh and piping hot.

“This is a special part of our Christmas Craft Fair. In addition to dining in at the cafe, we sell turkey pot pie by the slice or whole pies. We make about 50 pies. They are a favorite and sell out every year,” said Blundon. “We also offer a variety of hot homemade soups, which can be enjoyed while sitting down and relaxing or are available for takeout.”

According to Blundon, more than 2,500 cookies are created by NMCC bakers and anyone who has shopped there before knows to come early for the largest selection, though there are new cookie arrivals throughout the morning. According to Blundon, the dine-in option will open at 11:30 a.m. after the cookie rush. Attendees can pick up whole turkey pot pies and soups earlier.

“It’s an important event because it is a really nice and homey feeling we create. People come year after year and really enjoy the cookies and turkey pot pies, and soups. It’s really festive and it gets everybody going with the holiday spirit,” said Blundon. “It’s a cozy friendly time, with a positive atmosphere. It is a real tradition now. Change is important too, but holding on to good traditions makes a good balance. We are really excited about this year.”

The church also said musicians will stop by throughout the day to sing or play a few carols while participants enjoy their meals. This event is also a fundraiser for the church and allows its to endow its many outreach programs, according to Blundon.

“Though it’s not the biggest fundraiser of the year for us, it is still very important to our efforts,” said Blundon.

Masks and social distancing are required per current North Madison Congregational Church COVID-19 policy. For more information, visit northmadisoncc.org or call 203-421-3241. North Madison Congregational Church is located at 1271 Durham Road in Madison.


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