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Craft bazaar helps Valpo special education center

StefaniCharpentier makes yarn Saturday annual SELF School Christmas Bazaar fundraiser for special educaticenter Valparaiso. The event drew about 100 vendors.

Stefania Charpentier makes yarn Saturday at the annual SELF School Christmas Bazaar, a fundraiser for the special education center in Valparaiso. The event drew about 100 vendors. | Post-Tribune photo

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Updated: December 11, 2013 6:50AM



VALPARAISO — Amid the chatter of holiday shoppers, Stefania Charpentier used a portable spinning wheel to make blue-green yarn.

She took a break to sell a dish scrubby, one of the many items she had for sale at her booth during Saturday’s annual SELF Christmas Bazaar at the SELF School on Ransom Road.

Charpentier, of Valparaiso, also had hand-spun yarn and knitted goods for the offering. This was the second or third year she’s participated in the arts and crafts show.

“It’s in town, and it’s really nice. People come and chat, and I get to show off my craft. Not too many people see a spinning wheel too often,” she said, adding she also likes to see what other crafters have to offer. “I would never think of making more than half the stuff they have out here.”

Organizers said about 100 vendors from Indiana and surrounding states took part in this year’s event, in its 33rd year. They expected 1,000 shoppers to come through the doors for everything from handmade soap to Christmas ornaments.

The special education center serves
almost 300 children throughout Porter County, said Melissa Garmon, chairwoman of the bazaar and a preschool teacher at the school.

“It’s a fundraiser for our classes. After the costs, teachers split the money and are able to buy educational materials, games and whatever we need for our kids,” she said.

Many shoppers hit the craft show every year, and that included Stephanie Bradsky of Portage.

She bought an assortment of cat toys from the Independent Cat Society booth because she is a member and wanted to support it, and also got some cookies and pierogis.

“It’s the number of vendors here and the stuff they have. There’s a nice variety and I have to support these guys,” Bradsky said, standing in front of the cat society’s booth. “These are my people.”

For Wendy Bloom, making magnetic picture boards and scarves with her sister and her grandmother for a booth at the fair was a way to help out the school. Her son Isaac, 4, is a student there.

“The school has done so much for Isaac, it’s just a way to give back a little bit,” the Portage mom said.



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