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Craft fair off to flying start

Punters begin flocking to the Shetland Craft Fair on Saturday morning. Photo: Chris Cope/ShetNews

THIS YEAR’s Shetland Craft Fair got off to a flying start on Friday as 750 people attended the opening night of the event in Lerwick.

It is expected that at least 4,500 punters will pass through the Clickimin doors over the weekend as local makers show off their wares.

This year there are a total of 115 exhibits spread across the main hall and the bowls hall, with 27 doing it for the first time.

There is slew of different goods on offer ahead of Christmas, from clothes, trinkets and candles to jewellery, teddy bears, glassware and books.

Shetland Arts and Crafts Association’s Wendy Inkster said the opening night saw around 250 more people attend than last year.

“The quantity of exhibitors has gone up this year, so more folk are coming to see them. It’s getting busier and busier,” she said.

Merrymaking Sewing's Jill Hood is one of 27 first-time exhibitors. Photo: Chris Cope/ShetNews

An anonymous exhibitor survey revealed around £230,000 was spent at the craft fair last year, underlining the amount of money that is pumped into local businesses and the economy over the weekend.

“I think the survey was a good indication of how popular arts and crafts are not just with folk making them, but also folk wanting to shop locally and spend their money within the island,” Inkster said.

“Being in such a small community, people want to support the local folk who are making things. It’s not just that – if you look at the work here, the standard of it is just so high. Exhibitors also don’t just come back year on year with the same stuff, they’re always upping their game and coming with something new and different.”

One of those taking part in the volunteer-run craft fair for the first time was Jill Hood from Sandwick, who is selling hand-made items such as make-up bags and lavender heat bags under her Merrymaking Sewing moniker.

“It’s been lovely seeing all the things that everyone has made, and it’s really lovely having people admiring the work that I’ve been doing,” she said.

“I’d be delighted if anyone wants to buy anything. It’s just something I do as a hobby, so if anyone else takes an interest then that feels special. I’m also coming away with lots of ideas for other things I want to make.”

Established sellers meanwhile also remarked on how busy this year’s opening night was, which saw the Clickimin only open its doors for two hours.

The craft fair is open on Saturday between 10am-6pm and Sunday from 11am to 5pm. Entry is £2 for adults and £1 for concessions.