For the first time in over 30 years of craft fair history at UNH, the university organized what it hopes will become a new annual craft fair, featuring the work of its students, faculty and staff.
The UNH Makers Expo debuted in the Granite State Room of the Memorial Union Building (MUB) from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2. According to Memorial Union and Student Activities Assistant Director Nora Molloy, the Makers Expo was created to fill the void left by the Evergreen Fair, and help build community on campus by displaying sides that students, faculty and staff have that aren’t always seen in their day-to-day life at UNH.
“We’re giving people a chance to show the UNH community who they are outside of UNH,” Malloy said. “It’s a great way to build and celebrate community.”
The Evergreen Fair was a privately run fair that contracted space from UNH, but it ended last year when its creator retired. When planning the Makers Expo, Malloy scheduled her event on the same weekend of the previous fair, using its momentum to promote her event. According to Malloy, there were 41 booths and tables varying in price and the kind of items sold at the Makers Expo. Of the 41 stations, Malloy said half were featuring work from students, both graduate and undergrad, with some selling their own work and some fundraising for student organizations.
Senior business major Jennilee Burden came from UNH Manchester to sell her homemade cupcakes. The Makers Expo was the first time she brought her small business, Corks ‘n Cakes, to any kind of craft fair.
“I saw this as an awesome first time opportunity,” Burden said.
The Student Occupational Therapy Association (SOTA) sold cookies, jewelry and hats that members donated as a way to fundraise for the upcoming American Occupational Therapy Conference in March, according to the club president, senior Dee Nesti. According to UNH senior and SOTA Treasurer Paige Brousseau, because the club donated so many goods to their table, they were able to raise money to help send members with anything they sold.
Molloy said approximately 1,100 people attended the event. Students, as well as families could be seen roaming between the tables admiring blown glass, ceramics, textiles, photography and even hand made coloring books.
“I think it’s really cool that we have students and faculty with all these talents,” statistics graduate student Alex Giese said. “It brings the community together because without it, we would not know what everyone is capable of.”
Victoria Wilson, who works for the UNH Housing Department, has a passion for textiles and said she’s always making something. Her hobby culminated in a small business called Vees Bees where she sells her work online. Her booth was filled with handmade pillows, infinity scarves, hand warmers and candles. She spent three months preparing for the Makers Expo, which was her first crafts fair.
“I’m really hoping it [UNH Makers Expo] happens again next year,” Wilson said. “It’s really great that the MUB sees value in having this opportunity for UNH people to showcase this other part of their lives.”