By MIKE NORTON I can't believe how long the fall colors are hanging on in Traverse City this year. This has got to be a month later than usual, and although some of the maples are losing their leaves there are still so many beautiful vistas to be enjoyed - especially out on the Old Mission peninsula. On Sunday, I took advantage of the mild weather to take a stroll at the Pyatt Lake Natural Area near Bowers Harbor, a lovely place at almost any time of the year, but especially beautiful in the fall and the winter. At the edge of a wide boggy meadow I can across a splendid thicket of winterberry - a deciduous holly that produces clumps of bright red fruit in the fall. It was such a festive sight that I couldn't help taking a photo. Speaking of festive things, I got a lot of responses from people about last week's post, where I mentioned the superb Holiday Art Fair at the Dennos Museum Center, and that reminded me of all the other fairs and bazaars coming up. I know it's hypocritical of me, but although I 'm always ranting about the way those big department stores start putting up their Christmas decorations earlier and earlier each year, I never seem to have the same problem with the multitude of holiday-themed arts & crafts bazaars that are on tap throughout the Traverse City area during what they now insist on calling The Holiday Season.. The fact is, I love these things - whether they're done by schools, churches, arts groups, fraternal organizations. Partly it's because they genuinely showcase the work of local artists and artisans (and we've got a HUGE number of those) and because they usually are held to benefit some good cause, but also because I'm charmed by their ever-present atmosphere of small-town friendliness and innocence. Oh, and the cookies. There are almost always cookies. And I'm a sucker for cookies. So it doesn't really bother me that some of them start even before Halloween (the first one, up at Traverse City East Junior High, was held last week). My only complaint is that I wish we could have them all in one place for an enormous Christmas Craft Fair that could last for several days, with lights and music and other entertainment going on - something with an Old World medieval fair feel to it, perhaps. I think it would be awesome! Be that as it may, here's a listing of the various fairs and bazaars and sales that I know about. If you happen to be in Traverse City when one or two of them are scheduled, stop by and buy something. Even if it's just a plate of cookies. It's fun! Nov. 5: 29th Annual Bellaire Holiday Gift Fair 10am - 3pm A great little small-town fair held at Bellaire's high school -- just down the hill if you happen to be staying at Shanty Creek resorts! Nov 5: Dickens Christmas Arts & Crafts Bazaar 9am-3pm This popular holiday craft fair at First Congregational Church features handicrafts from 60 area artists as well as baked goods, preserves, gourmet delicacies, confections, handcrafted gifts and seasonal decorations. Come and enjoy the festive and friendly atmosphere and get an early start on your Christmas shopping. Vendor raffle. 6105 Center Rd, Traverse City. (231) 947-6698 Nov 5: 24th Annual Immaculate Conception Craft Show 8:30am-3:30pm More than 70 exhibitors will participate in this show at the parish Centennial Hall and the nearby middle school of Immaculate Conception. There also will be a bake sale, luncheon, and raffle. 720 2nd St., Traverse City. (231) 946-4211
- Winterberries, cedars, and a tamarack about to lose its needles
Nov 12: 4th Annual Craft Fair 9am-3pm Over 100 exhibitors will be on hand for this juried show at Traverse City Christian Middle/High School located at 753 Emerson Rd. Crafts, silent auction, lunch, bake sale & door prizes.(231) 929-1747 Nov 18, 19: ArtCenter Traverse City's annual Holiday Art & Craft Show The Artcenter Traverse City Winter Show will be held Friday from 4-9 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn West Bay. This is an all new juried and invitational show, with emphasis on quality works in photography, fiber, glass, painting, jewelry and much more. (231) 947-3700 Nov 17-20: Festival of Trees by Zonta of TC This annual festival at the Hagerty Center features a charming display of professionally decorated trees and wreaths. Each year, it's completely new. Open Thursday from 4-8 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. There's a silent auction, and a gingerbread house competition, too. Admission $5, students $3, preschool age free. www.zontatc.org Nov 19: Christmas Craft Show-Alden 9am-4pm The Torch Area Artisans Guild will hold its annual craft show in the Helena Township Community Center at 8751 Helena Rd. in Alden. A wide variety of local crafters offer their wares for sale to the public, and refreshments are also available. 231-331-6583 Nov 18: Suttons Bay Holiday Evening Stroll 5-9pm A fun and festive way to start your holiday shopping in the cute-as-a-bug village of Suttons Bay. Many shops will be serving wine & hors d'oeuvres. Nov 25: Leland PJ Party: Where the Holidays Begin 8am-10am A fun event in the Leelanau Peninsula port of Leland, where shoppers get the best deals if they come in their pajamas! Nov 25: Glen Arbor PJ Party Sale 5-7a.m. I don't know which of these two towns stole the idea from the other (actually, I DO know, but I'm not telling) but Glen Arbor has a PJ Party, too - and this one is in the wee hours of the morning. Honestly, if you get up this early, you deserve a discount! In the evening there's a tree-lighting and carols at the township hall, and a preview of the next days" Holiday Marketplace, which is held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 231-334-3238 Nov 26: Empire Artisan Marketplace 12pm-5pm This annual show is held in the Empire Township Hall.For more information, contact Andrea Henry at 231-228-7800. Dec 3: Merry Marketplace-Leland 10am-4pm Christmas arts and crafts show featuring local artisans with holiday gift packages, fresh and dried holiday wreaths, jewelry, specialty foods, pottery, ornaments, cards and hand knit items at the Old Art Building in the Village of Leland. 231-256-2131. Dec. 2: Santa's Arrival & Holiday Open House This little throwback to the good old days starts at 5 p.m. with music and caroling (with the Interlochen Arts Academy Chamber Choir) at the corner of Cass & Front, followed by the 6 p.m. arrival of Santa Claus and the lighting of the downtown Christmas tree. From then on, there's shopping, with sales, specials and prizes at participating stores, plus horse & carriage rides, live entertainment and lots of other fun. Dec. 8: Ladies' Night Extended store hours for the ladies to shop in downtown Traverse City. Participating stores offer food and refreshments from 5 to 9 pm. And hey, you can enter a drawing to win prizes. Dec. 15: Men's Night No need to panic! An evening of shopping has been designated just for the Men in Downtown Traverse City. Participating stores will offer sales, specials, refreshments and food from 5 to 9 pm.
- Browsing through Blown-Glass Ornaments at a Christmas Craft Show