MERCER, PA. Festival draws crafters galore

Proceeds help develop the arts in the school district and sponsor exchange students.
MERCER, Pa. -- Crafters from all over the country converged here Saturday for the 16th annual Penn's Woods West Arts and Crafts Festival.
More than 140 vendors have filled the hallways and many of the classrooms at Mercer High School for two-day event, according to Debbie Plant, one of the coordinators for the festival.
In addition to local crafters, there are vendors from Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, Illinois, Virginia and West Virginia, she said.
Items on display range from homemade Amish jams and jellies to handcrafted furniture, jewelry, paintings, quilts and other collectibles.
"Basically we like unusual items, handmade, handcrafted with a level of expertise," she said.
Voting: Those who visit the festival, which opens at noon today, are asked to check out the quilt show on the second floor and vote for their favorite piece for the best of show award presented just before the event closes at 5 p.m., Plant said.
Along with crafting booths, the event features a full slate of entertainment, including performances by country band Lonesome Road, Mae Berringer with her "Joannie Appleseed's One Room School" story, the gospel group known as Sound Witness and Cleveland actor Craig Schermer performing his narrative portrayal of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.
Throughout the two-day event there are also demonstrations of historical toys, scrapbooking and gardening.
Many local agencies are on hand to pass out information including the Mercer County Center against Domestic & amp; Sexual Violence, the Children's Aid Society of Mercer County, the county Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Women's Commission and the Regional Planning Commission.
Free screenings: FMC Dialysis of Mercer County is offering free blood pressure screenings, and the Mercer County Amateur Radio Club is broadcasting live.
Several local nonprofit groups set up food booths in the high school cafeteria, transforming it into the Penn's Woods West Food Court for the weekend.
Plant was assisted by Sue Carter Barner in coordinating this year's festival, which is a cooperative effort of the Mercer Area School District and the Mercer Area Chamber of Commerce.
The proceeds are used to help develop the arts within the school district and to sponsor international exchange students, Plant said.

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