Elliot Buchanan (right) tried on one of Lauren Fuller's handmade hats at last year’s Moab Arts and Recreation Center Holiday Art and Craft Fair. Elliot's mother Crissy (left) and grandmother Mary Hofhine are also pictured. [Moab Sun News file photo]

Christmas season is upon us and it’s time to get those gifts under the tree. Whether you have one person to shop for or many, there will be two opportunities to shop in town and support local artisans this weekend.

Starting on Friday, Dec. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m., the Moab Arts and Recreation Center (MARC) at 111 E. 100 North will be filled with over 50 vendors ready and waiting to sell their handmade items. The fair will continue on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will feature a visit from Santa Claus himself. In addition to all the great items to choose from at the MARC, a separate arts and crafts fair will be held at the Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West – where at least 25 vendors are expected – on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

MARC Director Meg Stewart said she’s “super-excited” to have many new artisans join this year’s fair.

“We look forward to Jessica Raap-Johnson selling her hand-crafted tie-dye, Jerilyn MacTaggart and her quilted baskets filled with herbal skin products and homemade candles, as well as Lita Riley joining us from Helper to sell her hand-made soaps,” she said.

Marveling at the vast array of handmade goods is a big selling point for shoppers, many of whom attend the events each year. Whether they go in with a gift in mind or wait for something to jump out and grab their attention, everyone leaves satisfied, Stewart said.

“Christmas ornaments, knitted hats, children’s books and fudge” are just a few examples of what Moab resident Jessica Tabberer has purchased in the past. This year, however, she hopes to find some hair bows for her daughter.

Rhiana Medina was eager to describe some of the excellent finds she’s discovered in recent years, which include a planter made out of mosaic tiles she graciously gifted to herself (it’s her favorite) and “really neat homemade notebooks” made by Nara Bopp-Williams. Other return vendors set to appear at the MARC include Brandy Bowmaster and Melissa Graciosa.

To many in Moab, being able to purchase locally is very important as it keeps money in the community and drives home the feeling of togetherness.

“I think shopping local is really important and gifts are more meaningful when you can support people in your community,” Medina said.

“Our hope for this year’s Holiday Art and Craft Fair is that the community comes out to see all the amazing creations and purchases gifts for their friends and family, while simultaneously supporting our local and regional artisans,” Stewart said.

With so many repeat customers and vendors, attending these events is a staple for the holiday season of many Moab residents.

Not only is it helpful for the economy; attending these craft fairs also provides a chance for residents to get to know one another in a setting they might not always find themselves in. The hustle and bustle of holiday shopping is easier when one is surrounded by faces of coworkers, neighbors and friends. Bonding over a gorgeous set of handmade earrings or a breathtaking ceramic bowl is a great way to get that holiday spirit flowing.

Along with holiday offerings, the Grand Center will have its kitchen open to serve Navajo tacos and delicious sticky buns. Annie Dalton, owner and artist of Moab Varnish, will be making her first appearance at the event this year with a collection of pottery.

For anyone who is interested in offering any creations they may have, the Holiday Gift Fair at the Grand Center still has tables available. For more information, contact Verleen Striblen at 435-259-6623.

MARC, Grand Center offer space for vendors to sell holiday gifts

What: Holiday Gift Fair at the Grand Center and MARC Holiday Art and Craft Fair

When: Friday, Dec. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Grand Center; and Friday, Dec. 1, from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 2, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center

Where: Grand Center, 182 N. 500 West; Moab Arts and Recreation Center, 111 E. 100 North

Cost: Attendance is free

Information: www.facebook.com/events/1618520364873215/

I think shopping local is really important and gifts are more meaningful when you can support people in your community.