Vernon Fire Dept. craft fair a success

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  • Vernon Township Fire Department’s Craft & Vendor Fair co-chairpersons Heather Gensinger and Jimmy Raperto celebrate the success of the 4th Annual Fair with event vendor Buffy Whiting.

  • Jean Karpowich the owner of Celtic Elfin Art & Jewelry shows off her line of products

  • Vernon Township Fire Department’s Craft & Vendor Fair co-chairpersons Heather Gensinger and Jimmy Raperto celebrate the success of the 4th Annual Fair with event vendor Buffy Whiting.

Forty-six vendors from all over Sussex County and the surrounding area took advantage of a beautiful fall day to show off their wares at the 4th Annual Fall Craft & Vendor Fair held on Sunday November 11th at the Vernon Fire House on Route 515 in Vernon.

Vendors arrived early to set up their product displays in preparation of the estimated 1500 visitors who would be shopping for those special gifts for the Holiday season and those very special occasions. The doors opened for shoppers at 10 a.m. and stayed open until 4 p.m. By 10:30 a.m. the 46 vendors were ready to present their diverse lines of homemade and special products to an already growing crowd of shoppers.

The Vernon Craft & Vendor Fair has become a popular event due to the efforts of Vernon Township Fire Department Member Heather Gensinger who has been a member of the Fire Department for 11 years and her co-chairman Jimmy Raperto who share fund raising duties for the Fire Department.

One of the vendors at this year’s Craft & Vendor Fair, Buffy Whiting, is better known for her skiing and golfing than her knitting skills. However Buffy has been knitting for fun for many years and has become quite skillful in using knitting needles to produce a variety of knitted products ranging from a beautiful Irish sweater for her husband John to baby booties for the new born babies for friends and family. As the variety of her knitting successes broadened to Pom Pom hats, scarfs, neck cowls and boot toppers she decided to startup a business called “Buffy’s Bargains” and sell her homemade items online on Facebook, Etsy and Pinterest; and share her hand made products with those attending the Craft & Vendor Fair.

Another new comer to the Craft & Vendor Fair Jean Karpowich from Sparta Jean’s handmade jewelry is sold under the name of “Celtic Elfin” suggesting the Irish theme underlying her productions which range from beautiful necklaces and ear rings to other forms of decorative jewelry.

In contrast, vendor Maryann Vincent whose product line is called “Maison de Bocaux” and features beautiful holiday decorations has not only been a supporter of the event for each of the Fair’s 4 years but has also been a valuable advisor to the Fire Department Team of Heather Gensinger and Jimmy Raperto to help ensure the event continues to grow and be successful.

The Fire Department’s team of Gensinger and Paperto were looking for way to raise money and provide a service to the community at the same time. They believed that a craft & vendor fair could not only generate money for the Vernon Township Fire Department and be a service to the community, but also do one better, provide an opportunity for local entrepreneurs and craftspersons to show off their talents and sell some of their unique creations. They proved to be right. Now in its 4th year, the popularity of the vent appears to be growing making it an anticipated event of the fall season for Sussex County residents and others who came from as far away as Staten Island New York to shop for that special gift.

Vendors wishing to display their products at the Fair make application to the Vernon Township Fire Department and pay a nominal fee of $25.00 to participate. They are then assigned a location in the Fire House to set up and promote their products to visitors during the five hours of the craft fair.

The money raised by the Fair as a result of Heather and Jimmy’s efforts on behalf of the Vernon Township Fire Department is used to support the needs of the Vernon Township Fire Department ranging from uniforms, fire equipment and other essential items required to provide fire protection service to Vernon Township residents.

If you are a craftsman or wish to be a vendor of your special products you may want to participate in next year’s 5th Annual Craft & Vendor Fair you should contact Heather via the Fire Department e-mail If you are looking for that special gift for the holiday or that special person you should mark your calendar to attend next year’s Vernon Township Fire Department Craft & Vendor Fair.

— Photos and story courtesy John Whiting

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