BY ALICIA FEYERHERM
The Your Voice Through Cancer Craft Boutique will be at Gross Memorial Coliseum on Saturday. This event raises funds for Your Voice Through Cancer in two ways: vendors paying a rental fee to be part of the fair and vendors and local businesses donating items to be raffled off.
This year, there are over 120 raffle items including a Blackstone Grill and an original Pete Felten painting – donated by Felten himself.
Your Voice Through Cancer helps support cancer patients.
“Even if you have insurance, there’s not a lot of funds that help with gas and hotels, nutritional drinks, supplements, and other expenses during treatment,” YVTC Vice President and Event Coordinator Amanda Long said.
The craft fair is the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Started in 2014 with 14 vendors, the event has now grown to include 110 handmade vendors from across the state- making it the biggest craft fair to take place in Hays.
Event Coordinator and Board Member Kate Armstrong said planning for the fair started in March of this year.
“It’s a very long and involved planning process,” Armstrong said.
One of the logistical challenges the planning board faced was finding a space large enough to accommodate the growing interest. Last year, the fair was held at the Hays Recreation Center, but the number of vendors has nearly doubled since last year.
The group decided to host the event at Gross Memorial Coliseum with booths being set up along the track on the main level and underneath the bleachers upstairs.
“It’s not very typical that you have a craft show where you have a multi-level facility,” Armstrong said. “We’re trying to make sure that all vendors have access to some volunteers to help them carry their stuff upstairs.”
Members of the Fort Hays Honor Society will be helping throughout the event including setup and tear down.
“I think it’s really important for our students to help out and volunteer throughout the university and the Hays community and I know our students really enjoy helping with these events,” Fort Hays Honor Society President Anna Brull said.
Brothers from the Sigma Chi Fraternity and students with the American Healthy Heart Association have also signed up.
Leadership studies students have also been involved with the event. As part of Leadership 310: Field Work in Leadership Studies, students designed T-shirts that will be sold at the event.
“Basically they’re learning leadership skills,” Long said. “They put together a project and we give them goals they have to meet in order to pass the class.”
Long said she appreciated all the student volunteers.
“We have a lot of Fort Hays students volunteering their time to help set up, tear down and work the show,” Long said. “I really like that we have students involved especially since we’re hosting it on campus.”
The event is strictly a crafts fair – something co-founder Judy Stegman felt strongly about.
“It’s all handmade, homemade items,” Armstrong said. “There are no direct sales, so you’re not going to find your Sensi or your Tupperware. You’re not going to find those types of vendors at our craft show.”
More information can be found on the Your Voice Through Cancer Facebook page. The organization posts the dates of all future events, including Bingo Nights at Heritage Bingo and Eatery under the “Events” tab.
“We sponsor Bingo Nights down at Heritage every second and fourth Friday,” Armstrong said. “We have a few other events in the works and we’ll release more information closer to those events.”
The craft fair will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday inside Gross Memorial Coliseum.