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Alton's Peddler's Fair to include music, bargains

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When the members of the Alton Culture Club conceived the idea of a Peddler's Fair last year, it was not to make money for the club.

Instead, the club members wanted to help the community make money, club historian Eunice Lainchbury said Saturday, June 4.

"We knocked around ideas of a citywide yard sale, but thought having a Peddler's Fair would help people who live in the country or without a lot of traffic get rid of merchandise," Lainchbury said.

The event is open to vendors selling arts and crafts, food, collectibles, antiques, junktiques and flea market items.

The second annual Peddler's Fair is set for 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 10-11, at Piney Creek Park in Alton.

About a dozen vendors signed up by June 4, although Lainchbury said many will likely sign up right until the time of the fair. Last year, the fair included 21 mostly local vendors although some traveled from as far as Doniphan and Arkansas.

"It went pretty good last year for the first year," Lainchbury said. "We didn't hear any complaints."

The vendors' wares will range from traditional yard sale items to homemade crafts of all sorts and baked goods, Lainchbury said.

Karaoke by Rachel Burkhardt, will be featured this year and ongoing throughout both days.

Booths still are available for rent at $35 with electricity for both days or $20 without electricity.

The Alton Culture Club recently celebrated its 44th anniversary and now includes 18 members. Some of those members are at-large, Lainchbury said. Although they can't donate time to the club, they pay dues and offer other support, she said.

The current president is Sandra Newell.

Just seven members take an active part in setting up the Peddler's Fair, which will operate rain or shine.

The club has only two major fundraisers per year, yet raises enough money to send two or three high school students on the Sophomore Pilgrimage annually to witness the state's Legislature in action in Jefferson City. The Koshkonong and Alton schools select which students will attend.

The group also holds a writing contest for children in grades 4-6, and gives cash prizes for first, second and third place in two categories -- short stories and poetry. The first-place winners' entries are then sent to the state competition.

Last year, Delanie Roberts won on the local level with her short story, "Lanie," and Maggie Johnson won with her poem, "Boring."

A perpetual project for the group is collecting books from the two drop-boxes that Alton High School students built. The books are then sent to needy children, Lainchbury said.

The group also assembles rape kits for Ozarks Medical Center in West Plains. The money for the kits and other projects is raised through an auction. An annual Christmas pageant is the club's other main fundraiser.

The club also helped pay for a sidewalk in front of the Alton Senior Center and recently contributed $500 toward the Joplin tornado relief fund. "That may not sound like much, but that's a lot for us," Lainchbury said.

Admission to the Peddler's Fair is free. For information, call 417-778-6154.

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