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Thousands come out for annual Homespun

The annual Homespun Craft Show and Sale was held for its 24th time recently, bringing thousands out to take part in the wide variety of activities the event entails.

The annual Homespun Craft Show and Sale was held for its 24th time recently, bringing thousands out to take part in the wide variety of activities the event entails.

Hosted at the Carlyle Sports Arena, Homespun brings some of the most talented craftspeople and artists out for a two-day event accurately dubbed, 'the biggest little craft show in Saskatchewan.'

Coinciding with Homespun this year was the Show n' Shine, hosted at Merit Ford, and the Quilt Show, held at Memorial Hall on Main Street in Carlyle.

First introduced 24 years ago by Judy Riddell, the show continues to be one of the highlight events in the annual calendar in the community of Carlyle.

"We had a wonderful year this year," Riddell said. "More than 3,300 people came to Homespun over the weekend."

Homespun ran on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 18 and 19.

"Saturday we had a huge turnout, and more than 2,300 people came through the door," Riddell said. "And Sunday was very active as well, with another 1,000 visitors."

One of the annual side-events that runs with Homespun is the Fireman's Breakfast.

A fundraising event held to support the Carlyle and District Fire Department, the firefighters served up a large, hot breakfast on the first morning of the show.

"We managed to serve out more than 100 breakfasts," said fire chief Trent Lee. "It was a little chilly in the morning, but we had the breakfast tent heated, so it was really quite comfortable."

"We really appreciate all the people who came out for a bite, as all the funds raised go to support the firefighting services in the area," Lee said. "The community support was really fantastic."

Another event held the first day of Homespun was the Show n' Shine at Merit Ford.

Auto enthusiasts from far and wide brought out their babies for a public viewing in the parking lot of the Ford dealership.

Antique cars, custom vehicles, and race cars jammed the lot as the crowd moved to and fro admiring the wonderful selection of cars.

A total of 47 vehicles took part in the Show n' Shine, some coming from as far away as Weyburn and Estevan.

"The annual Supper in the Field did quite well I was told," Riddell said. "While I haven't gotten any solid figures on it yet, I was told that more than 150 dinners were served out on Saturday night."

"All-in-all it was a really great weekend for us," Riddell said. "We had a wonderful slate of vendors for the visitors to experience, and from the feedback I've received, everyone seemed quite happy with the way things went."

"We had come and displayed here at Homespun for quite a few years, then we stopped for a while," said exhibitor Paul Smith of Floreen Smith Canvas Works. "This is our first year back, and it has been great so far."

"The number of visitors is fantastic, and we have managed to meet people from all over Saskatchewan, as well as Manitoba, and even a couple from BC."\

One of the longest running exhibitors at Homespun is pencil artist Bernie Brown.

Brown, who has been displaying at Homespun for two decades, says he is always happy to return to the show.

"I always do well at this show, and the people of Carlyle are just so very warm and welcoming to us," Brown said. "One of the annual things we do is a Sunday morning golf game with some of the local people we have become friends with over the years."

"It is the combination of good business and great people that keep drawing me back," Brown said. "It is definitely one of the shows I know I'll be doing every year."

Riddell said the visitor feedback she has received so far shows that the visitors enjoy coming to Homespun as much as the exhibitors do.

"One compliment that came through this year was that the show always has a great selection of really unique things to shop through," Riddell said. "Another person told us that this was one of the best shopping experiences they have had at a craft show ever."

Homespun is run as a not-for-profit body, and Riddell lends the success of the show over the years as much to the community support of it as anything else.

"It just wouldn't come together if it wasn't for the wonderful group of volunteers who take time out of their day to come and help out at the show," Riddell said. "The exhibitors and guests are always pleased by the kind reception they receive in town, as well as the assistance that is available on the floor when they need it."

"And all of those things come back to the people from the community lending their time to help make Homespun a success."