The Shorewood Athletic Booster Club hosted their 36th annual Arts & Crafts Fair in the high school’s Arena and North Gym on December 6.
The event included 116 vendors selling a variety of products, as well as a silent auction, raffle, spiritwear shop and bake sale.
“It’s always the first Sunday in December and the parking lot is always full. It’s a good place to come and get some arts and crafts for the holiday season,” said LeVar Ridgeway, athletic director.
The booster club rents booths to artists and charges a four-dollar admission fee. Proceeds go to SHS and SIS athletics.
“It is our largest fundraiser for the year for the Shorewood athletics. Typically we’ll raise $15,000 for the athletic department,” said Rick Frieseke, booster club treasurer.
According to Ridgeway, the money raised will help buy new equipment and uniforms.
Student athletes were also involved. They directed traffic, set up or took down booths and helped in odd areas of the fair.
“Each sport has a time block where they volunteer their time,” Ridgeway said. “We provide vendors a chance to order lunch or food and we would, [for example], have our student athletes go get the food for them.”
“We get a lot of repeat vendors coming back because they really appreciate all the help,” said Lynn Frieseke, event chair. “It really is a very positive event just because of the athletes and what they do and how they help out.”
Many of the vendors participate annually.
“In July I send out to all the old vendors an application,” Lynn said. “[Vendors come from] all over. Not just from Wisconsin; they come from different states.”
Pat Dorow, vendor, came from Mukwonago to sell repurposed antique mason jars.
“I’ve been here a couple of years and I enjoy the people in the area and business is very good here. And we also enjoy supporting the schools,” Dorow said.
Susan Visor, resident, has sold handmade jewelry at the fair for the past two years.
“I don’t really do other fairs,” Visor said. “This is the only one I do because it’s close and [has] Shorewood people. It’s really good; it’s big.”
The booster club advertises through various artists’ websites and the schools.
“It’s a nice community event,” Rick said. “It’s a place to gather and talk and meet so I think the booster club is all about community.”
“I think it’s unique because it’s all local and very Shorewood-based, and I know a lot of the shop vendors,” said Kevin Whittle, sophomore. “I like the hipster attitude and the variety of products.”
Spirit wear also helps raise money.
“Some of the old jerseys that we don’t use anymore we sell,” Ridgeway said. “It’s cool seeing some of the older alumni come back and [say] ‘that’s my number; I wore that number’ so they get a chance to kind of buy back some of the things that we don’t use.”
Although the event has grown over its 36 years, Rick said it has remained relatively unchanged.
“From the athletic department perspective and my own personal perspective, I appreciate the hard work that our booster club does for the athletic department because they … know the importance of athletics in a high school setting and they volunteer their time.” Ridgeway said.
by Sabine Peterka