Nutcracker Faire: something for everyone, even Santa

Scott Miller greets customers to his booth at the 2011 Nutcracker Faire. Miller makes inlaid wooden pendants and small plaques.-Photos by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Scott Miller greets customers to his booth at the 2011 Nutcracker Faire. Miller makes inlaid wooden pendants and small plaques.-Photos by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

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The sights and sounds of the Christmas holiday will fill the Homer High School commons and gym this weekend with Homer Council on the Arts’ Nutcracker Faire.  

“Great food, great arts and crafts, more than 100 vendors” is how coordinator Cindy Nelson describes this year’s annual event.

There will be artwork, jewelry, handspun yarns and knitted finished items. There will be photographs and creative representations of the area’s natural beauty, unique handmade gifts from beauty products to toys, decorations and useful items. And there will be so much more.   

“The Nutcracker Faire is booming, booming, booming,” said Nelson.

Hours of the faire are 11 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon-6 p.m. on Sunday.

“This is such an all-inclusive community gathering,” said HCOA Executive Director Gail Edgerly, referring to the Nutcracker Faire occurring on the first weekend of performances of the Nutcracker in the Mariner Theatre. “People are coming in for the ballet and for the fair, and it’s such an amazing congregation of this community. You see people you only see once a year. It’s like going to the street fair, but quadruple.”

Speaking of people you see once a year, Brownie Troop 564 has persuaded Santa Claus to take time out of his busy schedule to stop by the fair from 1-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visitors can photograph the moment for a small price or, for slightly more, a professional photographer can document the one-on-one time with Mr. Christmas, with proceeds benefiting troop activities. The troop also will have a portion of Santa’s North Pole workshop set up, with everything needed to make little gingerbread houses. If a busy holiday schedule doesn’t allow to construct the house at the fair, gingerbread house kits can be purchased and taken home to make later or given as gifts. 

Live music marks the festivities, thanks to the coordination of Carol Comfort. There will be performances by the Homer High School Swing Choir, the Homer Ukulele Society, Sally Wills and Dave Gerard, Lindianne Sarno, Rev. Poor Child, Sunrise Sjoberg and Tim Quinn, Mike Murray and the piano students of Comfort’s piano studio. 

“There are three or four spots left,” said Comfort, inviting other musicians to join the fun.

Kachemak Kids Early Learning Center is offering edible art activities for youngsters. For starters, Hanna Johnson, executive director of Kachemak Kids, and her crew will have everything needed to turn an ice cream cone into a Christmas tree, make ornaments out of popsicle sticks and create one-of-a-kind Christmas cards.

“We’ll have all the supplies cut out and set up so they can do several projects or just one,” said Johnson.

Kachemak Kids also will raffle off three gift baskets with up to $600 worth of items each donated by local merchants such as the Alaska Kayak School, Homer’s Jeans, NOMAR and Tech Connect. The proceeds benefit Kachemak Kids nonprofit preschool and childcare center.

What’s a holiday event without food? That’s a question that doesn’t have to be answered, thanks to six food vendors with such delicious offerings as Alaska seafood, Mediterranean specialties, gourmet ice cream bars and hearty hot coffee. Even HCOA is going to get into the act with servings of curry and ratatouille, according to Edgerly.

The festivities are the perfect stage for Kathy Kysar, owner of Fresh Sourdough Express Bakery and Restaurant, to unveil her new gluten-free bread, scone, muffin and cookie mixes. They’re wheat-free and, satisfying both vegan and nonvegan appetites, can be made with dairy or nondairy milks and egg substitutes.

“In addition, we’ll be selling baked goods, sourdough stuffing mix, croutons, bread crumbs, jellies, salsa and dressing,” said Kysar. “And we’ll have plenty of gluten-free bread for sale, too.”

The Nutcracker Faire’s popularity has grown over the years, with vendors eager to               secure space.

“It fills up probably two weeks before the Oct. 21 deadline,” said Edgerly. “Right now we have nine people on a waiting list.”

The event also takes advantage of the space Homer High School offers.

“It’s a wonderful venue for vendors, but bigger than that, at least for me, is that it’s such a community event and wonderful to see the school being used to such capacity,” said Edgerly.

“Between the fair and the ballet, it’s really being used for what it’s capable of.”  

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.

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