The parking lot of Crossroads Public School in Niagara-on-the-Lake was packed Saturday afternoon, as the 11th annual Home, Garden and Craft Show brought the community together to raise funds for the Virgil school. Some cars were even parked along Niagara Stone Road.
The annual event is the main fundraiser for Crossroads. The money raised at this year’s show will go towards playground upkeep, kindergarten supplies, classroom iPads, musical instruments, performances in the gymnasium, actors and scientists in the classroom, and school trips, said Amy Rapone, chair of the show.
This year 85 vendors participated, offering a variety of goods and products, including homemade soaps, knit clothes, decorative wood pieces and farmhouse décor. For the little ones, there was also a free kids zone, a Mad Science show, a glitter/tattoo booth and animals from Reptile Kingdom.
More than 1,000 guests attended the show, not including children, said Rapone.
Many vendors praised how organized the event was. For many it was their first time participating.
“I’m all about education,” said Peter Hellinga who makes wood and acrylic items. “Anything to support kids at school and another way to sell something.”
“It’s a great event that helps school and community,” said Kristen Di Pollo, the owner of Gar Knit and Purl. “I would definitely come back next year.”
The event was put together thanks to collaborative efforts between students, parents and businesses.
For Rapone, who was running the event for the first year, it was important to have school students become a part of the show.
“That’s why I had them involved in making the pictures and giving back that way,” she said. “And they helped a lot with the setup of the rooms… so it brought focus to them and the fact that this is a fundraiser for the school.”
“It’s a lot more fun too. All the parents know each other, it’s social,” said Lianne Lambert, one of the parents helping at the show. “There’s a really good vibe in the show like everyone’s happy. And it’s a very positive experience because we’re helping the school.”
Former Crossroads students also made great contributions to the event, said parents.
“Especially the older kids, the high school kids, they come back and get their high school hours which is great because we need all of the help that we can get,” said Lambert. “And then the younger ones are just proud to show off their classrooms to their parents and families.”
Two high school students, Riley van ‘t Riet and Julia Bartel, were in charge of selling food and drinks at the event.
“The best part of the show is probably how much money it brings for the school and the kids,” said van ‘t Riet. “And how it’s a great opportunity for volunteers to get our community service hours.”
Two current Crossroads students, Lauren Davidson and Sarah Laughton, were responsible for selling tickets for the BBQ lunch. They said this was their second time helping with the show.
“We get a lot of experience,” said Laughton. “It’s good to be out there, checking stuff out.”
“And just seeing what people are up to, business-wise,” added Davidson.
Lord Mayor Betty Disero was invited to announce the winners of two grand prize draws, one of which was the Galaxy Tablet donated by the CMI Heavy Industries.
“This is a great fundraising opportunity for the school and it’s also really helpful to the community,” Disero told The Lake Report. “People get to come in and learn more about the products out there, particularly this time of year, because of the summer.”
Disero said she was thrilled to be at the event.
“I want to wish Crossroads school success on their fundraising target and I look forward to having them continue this on for years to come.”