City celebrates 34th annual arts, crafts show

The sun shone brightly for those who attended Williamsport Recreation Department’s 34th annual HomeMade Days arts and crafts show Friday.

Guests had the chance to walk around the many stands set up in Brandon Park near the bandshell while snacking on food from a multitude of trucks and vendors and enjoying performances like one from Milissa Augustine’s dance studio.

According to HomeMade Day’s website, the mission of the annual arts and craft show is to ensure that “all wares are handcrafted or homemade.” The vendors stuck to the mission and provided a wide variety of arts and crafts for purchase, including: glass and wood home decor, soaps, hanging wall flowers, baskets, doll clothing, candles, scarves and other clothing accessories, kitchen ware and even spices and dressings for every meal.

New to the craft show, CraftyWallflowers owned by Tina Haverly, was a part of the green/recycled craft category, said Thad Meckley, chairman of the Brandon Park commission. “Homemade with love,” the wall hanging flowers and wreaths popped with color and could be spotted from anywhere in the park.

“I’m looking forward to having a good time and meeting new people,” said Haverly. “I enjoy the vendors. It is just a really nice atmosphere.”

Set up close to the bandshell, a range of food vendors prepared for customers. According to Meckley, the food vendors come from far and wide — some travel from out of state. One such vendor who made the long journey to Williamsport was Packer’s Lemonade from Tennessee.

Originally from Jersey Shore, Packer returns to the area with his famous lemonade recipe originally created in 2011. A family reunion tradition, Packer and his mother would mix and play with recipes until they landed on the one that, according to Packer, “you’d wish your grandma made.”

“I love the people. I come up here and see friends, some other vendors that I know… And also the repeat customers. I am very fortunate and have a lot of repeat customers,” said Packer.

Walking among the vendors, Neal Milligan, a returning fan of the craft show, spoke highly about the diversity he sees within the rows of vendors.

“There’s such a variety of things here. Sometimes you go to a show and it is just the same stuff, but this one has a different variety. The food has a variety,” said Milligan. “You’ve got everything from soap to wood working, Chef Tim who has the seasonings for food. It is just a great variety.”

Three years with the arts and crafts show, Jessie Novinger, director of recreation and special events, had watched the show develop and grow through the years.

“Since I have been here, we have added an entire new section … and we have added some variety to our vendors. We have people who do some really artisan prepackaged food, some high-end jewelry, lots of people who make signs, and just some different things that weren’t always here before,” said Novinger.

Meckley added that this year has the most food and arts vendors than any of the recent years. According to Novinger, like Packer, there are people from out of the state including South Carolina and Massachusetts.

“Honestly, my favorite part is when it is all set up, and you can take a deep breath and you see guests coming and leaving with bags. You see people are happy and sailfishes. You see people with food and trying something new. Just they are excited to be here,” said Novinger.

The evening came to a close with a performance in the bandshell by Dixie Chick’n, a southern rock band from Williamsport.

For those who missed out on Friday, the fun’s not over. The festivities continue from 9 to 5 p.m. today.