If you're looking for unique gift ideas for Christmas and want to support a good cause, the 57th What's New Fair is the place to be this weekend.
The Jamestown branch of the American Association of University Women hosts the annual event, which will be held at the Hamilton Collegiate Center at Jamestown Community College on Saturday and Sunday. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $3 for adults; $2 for JCC and Jamestown Business College students, with identification; $1 for children ages 6 to 12; and children 5 and under are admitted free. Plenty of parking is available on the JCC campus.
Proceeds from the fair go toward awarding scholarships to female JCC and JBC graduates who are pursuing four-year degrees. More than $270,000 of AAUW What's New Fair proceeds have been given to more than 310 women in the last 57 years. These scholarships have assisted women with the opportunity to pursue their dreams through higher education. Scholarship applications are available at the student development office after Jan. 1.
The 57th What’s New Fair will be held this weekend. The Jamestown branch of the American Association of University Women hosts the annual event, which will take place Saturday and Sunday in the Hamilton Collegiate Center at Jamestown Community College. The 2009 What’s New Fair is shown.
P-J file photo
AAUW advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. The What's New Fair is an effort by the Jamestown AAUW Branch to advance equity for local women through education. Pursuit of the mission of AAUW is made possible through the support of the What's New Fair by the Chautauqua County community.
ATTENDING THE FAIR
The What's New Fair hosts local merchants who feature new items available for the holiday shopping season. Cathy Congdon, Randolph Retail Company owner with her husband, Tom, will feature items from several Randolph businesses.
''Randolph is unique because the businesses work together,'' she said. ''We support each other, and we want people to know what we have to offer. You can easily spend an afternoon shopping and eating in downtown Randolph, and then you can go on the Amish Trail. We can arrange a tour of the Amish, or you can take your own tour with the maps we can provide you.''
Mrs. Congdon said her business will feature women's clothing, accessories, children's items, wine accessories and Christmas decor. She said The Pickle Barrel will have home decor, lighted canvases, county items and information about their new coffee and tea bar; 129 Main Street will feature antiques, collectables, vintage clothing, jewelry and hats; Wallflowers will have wreaths and floral arrangements; and Quirky Quilters will have quilts and other quilted items.
Chautauqua Miniatures & 2 Chixx Gift Shoppe of Mayville will feature the new clothing accessory - Pirose. Heather Johnson, Chautauqua Miniatures & 2 Chixx Gift Shoppe owner, said a Pirose is a scarf-like item which can be worn several ways.
''We will also have puppets, family games, creative toys, hand-me-down heirlooms and children tea sets. We're big on things that don't use batteries,'' she said. ''We will also have the Pouchee, which is an essential item for women to have. It can be taken out of one handbag and simply placed in another. We will have more surprises; people will just have to come and see.''
Johnson said she likes to attend the event to see what other local merchants have on display.
''It is nice to meet the other business owners from the area. It is nice to communicate. There is a comradery among us,'' she said. ''The community comes out nicely to support it. People start their Christmas shopping there.''
Cheri Greenstein, GG My Love owner, will be bringing items from her Jamestown business like boots, scarves and jewelry, which includes La De Da Jewelry Design.
''They are interchangeable jewelry. You can change the look of a bracelet or ring,'' she said.
Greenstein said this will be the fourth year she will be attending the event.
''I enjoy the people. They are so friendly, and I love seeing all the new items the other vendors have,'' she said. ''Also it helps a great cause so the AAUW can provide scholarships for women to go to college.''
Greenstein said she is a member of the AAUW and is glad to support the organization's cause.
''I feel women need extra help in receiving equal pay and job opportunities, and I think they are a great organization to help promote that,'' she said.
Mike Kingsley, Evergreen Outfitters owner, said he has attended the What's New Fair for several years.
''I like the atmosphere. It kicks off the holiday season,'' he said. ''There are a lot of friendly people and unique gift ideas.''
Kingsley said he will be featuring Vibram FiveFingers shoes. Vibram FiveFingers are a type of minimalist shoe marketed as a more natural alternative for different outdoors activities like sailing, kayaking, canoeing and as a camp or after-hike shoe. The footwear is meant to replicate being barefoot and has thin, flexible soles that are contoured to the shape of the human foot, including visible individual sections for the toes. Kingsley said he will also have Christmas ornaments, jewelry and Life Is Good products.
Walkers Whittle Works of Ashville will be on hand, as well. Sharon Walker, owner, said her business features wood-carved flowers.
''I will be focusing my items on Christmas decorations for the upcoming holiday season,'' she said.
Walker said this is the first time she will be attending the What's New Fair.
''I've heard of it, and heard it is busy,'' she said. ''They seem like my kind of people who like Christmas decorations.''
Santa and his elves will be there both days. The popular Gingerbread Cookie House and the Sweet Shoppe with homemade goodies will be featured. Door prizes, provided by the fair merchants, will be awarded every hour, and shoppers must be present to win. A giveaway of prizes from a variety of places will be held on Sunday afternoon. Shoppers do not need to be present to win.
To become an AAUW member, a minimum of a two-year degree from an accredited college is required. Please ask any AAUW member to inquire about membership or stop by the AAUW membership booth at the AAUW What's New Fair. The membership annual fee is reduced to $45.50 if a new member joins at the fair.