ALTON - The Alton Band and Orchestra Builders' (ABOB) 32nd Olde Alton Arts and Craft Fair was as exciting as predicted, with many excellent vendors and customers who walked away with a prized Christmas gift. The Olde Alton Arts and Craft Fair was held December 4 & 5, 2021 at Alton High School.
There were over 150 crafters from not just Illinois and Missouri, but also from as far away as Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas. Crafters must offer products that are at least 51 percent handmade.
David and Paula Fritz have coordinated the annual affair for the last three years for ABOB.
David Fritz said: "We have a wide variety of crafters here. We had three floors, the main hallways filled, and the main Commons area. Many of the crafts had a Christmas theme. We require the crafters to make hand-made items, which makes this fair unique."
Andrea Phillips, a crafter, said she loves the Olde Alton Arts and Craft Fair.
"I have snowmen, glass bottles, sleds that light up, and much more. I get to meet a lot of good people and I have a lot of repeat customers. It is a wonderful event."
Gwen Solomon of Block Party Gifts and Decor, sells blocks, signs, ornaments, and more at events like the arts and craft fair. She said what she loves most is meeting with customers and seeing them get excited about things she has made. She said she also does a lot of custom orders for people, especially during the Christmas season.
For David and Paula Fritz, the arts and craft fair and all ABOB activities have significant meaning. The Fritz children went through the AHS music program and for David and Paula, it is just a way to give back for all the blessings they received from the Alton School District.
"It is just a fun way to see the crafters, their wares, see student and parent volunteers in action, and a really fun unique way to start Christmas season," David said. "We had a lot of volunteers here both days. It is a great and fun-filling way to start the Christmas season."
ABOB, originally organized in 1948, has supported the instrumental music program of the Alton Community Unit School District for 73 years, providing music, equipment, and instruments for our elementary, middle, and high school band and orchestra students.