By George Stahl
Special to the Sun
The 2018 Peddler’s Faire was held this past weekend at the Faith Community Church in Wofford Heights. The event was sponsored by Faith Community as well as the KRV Rotary Club. Event chair and founder Jeanette Rogers Erickson said that this year’s Faire promised to be one of the best ones yet in all 22 years of its history. “We have 56 total vendors, and of those, quite a few of them are first-timers with us. We are so glad that they decided to be a part of what we do this year and hope that they continue on with us,” Rogers-Erickson said.
Those 56 vendors were joined by over 100 volunteers who helped put the Faire together every year. “It takes many hands and several strong backs to make this happen, and everyone of them are very much appreciated,” said Irene Martinson, Kern River Valley Team Leader for Operation Christmas Child.
As an estimated 300 people visited the gymnasium between Friday afternoon and Sunday afternoon, perhaps they were even able to find that special gift for Uncle Henry, who is usually very hard to shop for, but not at the Faire.
Not all of the vendors were there to sell someone something as tangible as a necklace or a glass bowl. Some were there to display their services. Janet Lubin of Janet Lubin’s Mobile Notary Service had a display and was answering people’s questions about what a notary does, and when someone might need one. “A lot of the times when a person needs a notary, they don’t know where to look, or to go. I think coming here like this can help make people aware of how to go about it, and that they don’t have to go anywhere. I can come to them,” Lubin said.
The Alzheimer’s Disease Association of Kern County (ADAKC) has had a representative on hand at the Faire from the early days. Jane Smith is the local rep for ADAKC and has been instrumental in helping many of the KRV residents battling the disease for a very long time. “We try our best to get the right resources to the right people. Events like the Peddler’s Faire really help us to do that,” Smith said.
Mixed in with the service booths, the glassware and the table clothes, were the Community Booths. The Kern River Valley Senior Citizens, Inc. organization was participating for the first time this year. The group focuses on what needs and wants the Senior Citizens of the KRV have. “We have a vested interest in our seniors,” said President of the organization, Al Hoerner. Three years ago, the group took on the not so small task of trying to have a new Senior Center built on Lake Isabella Blvd. next to the County Courthouse and Sheriff’s substation.
Without fail, the Citizen’s Service Unit, volunteers with the Kern County Sheriff’s Office, is on hand and with safety tips and guidance on how to effectively use the 911 system. Jeff Sweat and Doug Christensen were ready to answer any questions and to direct people in the right way.
In the Faith Community Church booth, information on their activities as well as handmade crafts and essentials were available for the shoppers to gather up. Next to Faith Community, Sue Hairell of Kernville was at the Faire for the first time, and she was offering a unique approach to feeding birds. Hairell was debuting her handmade bird feeders. Ordinarily, this would not be unusual, but in Hairell’s case, the birdfeeders are made from mattress springs, and other re-purposed items.
The KRV Woman’s Club, The Rotary Club and the Hospital Foundation all had booths, all represented by Darlene Wolowiec. In an outreach to the community, Wolowiec said that “any of the items I have left after the Faire are being donated to St. Jude Catholic Church for their annual festival this coming weekend.”
The Burlington and Kern Village were represented by owner Sheryl Parmelee, who, between her two facilities, employs 19 people in the KRV. Celebrate Recovery, a group ministry at Faith Community was on hand, and organizers, Jeremiah and Wendy Maxwell were ready to answer any questions and explain what the recovery program does. “In a way to give back, several of our children who have parents in Celebrate, will be helping out at the St. Jude Festival up the street next weekend.”
Making a comeback of sorts this year, Doug Schanzenbach with Antler Art had a display of his creations after being gone for a while, but according to Schanzenbach, “It is really good to be back. I took some time off, but it’s good to be back.”
This year, the popular café for lunches and dinner was moved into the gymnasium area in a quiet corner. Each day a different community group provided the meals. All equally delicious and all equally inventive.
In a side celebration, Rogers-Erickson made a presentation of a hand-sewn American flag created by Kay Knight of Kernville. Most everyone at the Faire signed the flag and it was presented to Gary Zuber. “In honor of everything you do for our vets, and for their families,” said Rogers-Erickson. “We thank God for you and men like you Gary,” she added. Zuber and his wife, Karen, have been instrumental in gathering veterans for the Bakersfield Honor Flight for the past 7 years. “We have put men and women on over 34 flights to Washington D.C. All I can say is thank you!” Zuber said.
“This has to be the biggest year ever,” Rogers-Erickson said Sunday afternoon. Things were starting to die down and the vendors were beginning to pick up their belongings. “It seems to me that we have had more people moving around, mingling, talking and laughing this year than any other. It was great to see the vendors helping one another set up, and now tear down,” she said. “I really enjoyed seeing God’s hand in all of this. People were not only buying and selling, but they were coming together as a community to help. All the proceeds go to the Faith Community family to help those in the valley who are in need. It is always very encouraging to me when I see this many people coming together to lend a hand.”