Shopping for Christmas cheer in Genoa |

Shopping for Christmas cheer in Genoa

by Jo Rafferty

The merchants were doing “incredibly well” at this year’s Genoa Christmas fair, according to Barbara Florman of Genoa, who featured her antiques and wares in one of the booths.

This year the craft fair, caroling and Christmas café took on a Victorian flavor, with the name changed to Genoa Victorian Christmas Faire.

“We have buyers, which is neat,” said Florman, dressed up in a period outfit. “They’re not in numbers, but people are coming here for a purpose.”

Other crafters and artists were not doing too shabby as well. Janine Barros of Genoa had been busy lately, making approximately 125 knit hats she was selling at the fair on Saturday and Sunday.

“I’m just blown away,” she said on Sunday afternoon. “I made $327 yesterday and so far $85 today.”

Barros’ grandmother had taught her to knit when she was 10.

“All these hats have buttons from my grandma’s button box,” she said, sitting amongst the piles of hats in varying shades of yarn. “I really didn’t realize the success I would have today. It’s very rewarding.”

Because Barros’ father died of brain cancer in 1979, she plans to donate the remaining hats to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital a pediatric cancer research center, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas. For information on Barros’ hats, call Cold Noggin at 846-1762.

At another booth, Helen Crandall of Minden was displaying her Desert Rose Bears, collectible Teddy bears and other animals that Crandall sews from both real and synthetic fur.

“I recycle fur garments,” said Crandall. “I try to bring one of each type of fur. I use seal, kid, Persian lamb, raccoon, muskrat, marten and beaver.”

Crandall began making the stuffed bears, which now sell for $55 on up, in 1998, when she wanted to make something special for her two sisters who collect bears.

“I found a mink stole at a thrift shop,” she said. “And it all got started from there.”

Although working with real fur to make collectible animals is not unique, Crandall said many artists will not work with it.

“It’s very unforgiving,” she said. “If you rip it, you start over.”

Crandall can be reached at Desert Rose Bears, 267-5254.

These merchants had been in the Genoa Town Hall, and next door in the old firehouse, several more tables were set up with everything from homemade potholders to cartoons drawn and painted by an artist, who among other things, used to do artwork for Walt Disney Productions. Fox Carlton Hughes was once a jazz guitarist, both writing music and opening for bands like the Mommas and the Poppas, The Carpenters, Feliciano and many others. His musical career was cut short when he was in an accident a few years later, during which a police car ran over his left hand and a UPS truck smashed his guitar.

“Before I even got up, I knew I was going to do something else,” said Hughes. Besides his artwork, with signed prints starting at $10 each, Hughes has written and illustrated seven children’s books, currently being published.

Hughes, 77, of Dayton, said he didn’t start drawing until her was 55. He said he owes his successful life to his wife, who reads spiritual writings with him every morning before he starts his day.

Hughes can be reached by e-mail at HYPERLINK or by phone at 246-0234.

One couple, Kris and George Nash of Genoa, were donating any proceeds they made through the sale of 50 spice tubes to the Northern Nevada Carson Valley Children’s Shelter. The 50-15 ml test tubes come in a white box for $20.

For more information, call 782-4441.

Santa appeared at the Genoa Victorian Christmas Faire, along with his helper, Billie J. Rightmire, the town historian, who said that the craft fair tradition began in Genoa in 1973.

While shopping, customers were entertained with caroling by the Len French Ensemble and the Douglas High School Madrigal Singers.