With holidays fast approaching handMADE Montana is preparing for two artisan fairs: the Helena Holiday MADE fair Dec. 4-5 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds, and the original Missoula MADE fair, Dec. 12 at the Adams Center.
Organizer Carol Lynn Lapotka, owner of the handMade Montana shop in Polson, was recently named Retailer of the Year by the Made in Montana program. The back of her store serves as a production studio for her original lines of clothing and gear, REcreate Designs and Grove Outdoors.
The Holiday MADE fairs, held in Missoula, Helena and Bozeman each fall and early winter, are among the largest and most successful artisan shows in the state. Although the pandemic put a hold on last year’s events, all three are in full swing again, with the Bozeman fair, held Oct. 31, already in the taillights.
These fairs are billed as “more than your ordinary arts and crafts market,” offering visitors an opportunity to shop for “handmade goods as an alternative to mass-produced items and support local and regional small craft businesses.”
As Lapotka says, “Our curated collection of artisans represents the best of the best, and we put on quite a show!”
Helena Holiday MADE fair: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 5 at the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds. More than 180 artists share everything from affordable, functional works of art to fine heirloom pieces. Non-profit organizations, food vendors and activities are also on tap. The fair closes on Sunday with a Happy Hours Sale from 2-4 p.m. with special deals from a variety of artists.
Masks are not required, but highly recommended. handMADE Montana also hosts a Covid-19 Vaccine Clinic on Saturday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Please be sure to bring your vaccine card if it is not your first shot.
Admission is free; customers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to help support Helena Food Share.
Missoula Holiday MADE fair: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. at the Adams Center on the University of Montana campus, with VIP shopping available from 10-11 a.m. Shop all three levels of the Adams Center (balcony, arena floor, and upper gyms) and discover new artists or visit favorites. The 14th annual Missoula Holiday MADE fair showcases works by 220 local artists and nonprofits, and will include free entry, free parking, and plenty of room to shop.
This show was recently listed as one of the best holiday shows in the country for its large curated collection of artisans, representing the best of Montana.
Beat the crowds and purchase a VIP passes for $10, which offers an one-hour head start. Proceeds from the ticket sales go to a local nonprofit.
Tote bags are available for $5, and each includes a $10 gift card for the handMADE Montana retail shop in Polson. Proceeds go to the emerging artist scholarship fund to help offset costs for artists who need a little extra help.
Customers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to help support the Missoula Food Bank.
Masks are recommended, regardless of vaccine status, for shoppers and artists alike, as are standard COVID precautions such as hand washing, social distancing and staying home if you feel unwell.