By SEAN BARRON
Christmas is a month away, but perhaps Holly Edwards has already received the gift that will be the most meaningful and personal.
“These are the initials of my late father,” the Canfield woman said, referring to “SRW,” which stands for Sam R. Wagner, who died after having received hospice care.
Edwards had the three letters stamped on a personalized leather bracelet she bought, which was complemented with butterflies, as a way to honor her father’s legacy, thanks to having attended the annual Olde Fashioned Christmas at the Mill gathering Saturday afternoon in Mill Creek MetroParks’ Lanterman’s Mill.
The six-hour family-friendly holiday-themed event continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the mill.
The traditional, old-fashioned holiday celebration features 15 local and regional vendors, crafters and artisans such as tinsmiths, woodcarvers and leather makers. Also included is musical entertainment, along with a magician and comedian, noted Carol Vigorito, the park’s recreation and education director.
“The focus is on being old-fashioned, and we decorate to the hilt. It’s our last weekend open [until spring] and people come out to enjoy the holiday atmosphere and give something back,” she said.
Also, attendees are encouraged to donate hats, mittens, scarves, gloves and other winter wear to a Giving Tree. The items will go to the Mahoning County Educational Service Center to be distributed to some of that agency’s clients, Vigorito explained.
Accompanying Holly were her husband, David Edwards, as well as daughters Samantha, 6; Sophia, 10; and Madison, 13. Samantha also had a bracelet made bearing her nickname, Sammie.
Christmas will be spent with both sides of the family, David added.
Making the bracelets is Kathy Bowman of Austintown, a self-taught crafter who first wets the small leather straps, then uses a poly mallet to stamp the letters in place. She also adds touches that are personal to each buyer, she said.
“I started doing it in 1989 by making wallets, purses, all kinds of stuff … but I always did bracelets,” recalled Bowman, whose daughter, Shawne Wilfong, assisted.
A sample of merchandise for sale in Lanterman’s Mill includes T-shirts emblazoned with Youngstown landmarks, prints of the mill, a variety of scented soaps, candles and room sprays, coffee mugs, tart burners and arrowheads. Also on hand for those with a touch of nostalgia is the popular book “Idora Park: The Last Ride of Summer” by Rick Shale and Charles J. Jacques Jr.
Those who desire to spice up their kitchens a bit likely found much to their liking, courtesy of Gregg and Deb Kristophel of Harmony, Pa.
The couple runs a 33-year-old business called Riverwood Trading Co. that specializes in selling treenware, which is essentially any wooden utensil used mainly in the kitchen, Gregg explained.
He uses electric sanders, band saws and other hand tools to design and make carvings on cuts of mainly cherry wood, which are converted to items he has for sale that include salt, mixing, strainer and saucepot spoons, four-piece utensil sets, spatulas, dippers and coffee scoops. The items also are specially designed for those who are left- or right-handed.
“I work in my shop six or seven days a week,” said Gregg, who also was a self-taught and self-employed carpenter.
In addition, they take part in about 35 craft and other related shows each year, Deb added.
Many people have used phrases such as “a diamond in the rough” to describe what they see as the aesthetic beauty of Mill Creek Park, so it’s probably not a stretch to surmise that some found C. Scott Lanz’s photographs quite pleasing.
Lanz, of Boardman, an attorney and an avid nature photographer who runs a 13-year-old business called LanzScape Photography Ltd., has for sale numerous prints and photos on canvas, many of which are taken in Mill Creek Park during all four seasons.
He also is selling 2019 calendars that feature some of his photography around the park.