SHELTON, Conn. — In the market for unique Christmas gifts? Celebrate Shelton will be sponsoring three Holiday Handmade Markets at the Conti Building, on the first three Saturdays in December.
Each market will feature more than 30 artisans each week along with live music all day, children's holiday activities and other specials. The market is free to enter, and there's ample parking.
One of the dozens of vendors at the handmade market will be the Raven & the Rose Handcrafted Soaps. The company "specializes in beautiful cold process soaps, beard care products and specialty soaps made from local craft brews and wines," its Facebook page says.
Celebrate Shelton hosts handmade markets year-round, on nearly all first Saturdays of the month -- but there are extras in December, to help folks with their holiday shopping.
"The market gives us the opportunity to showcase local businesses and bring a little more vibrancy to downtown," Michael Skrtic, co-founder of Celebrate Shelton and owner of the Glass Source Stained Glass Studio, told Daily Voice.
He said that most of the vendors are local, either from Shelton or the surrounding towns.
"What we've been trying to do is promoting small business, promoting our community and building something that's sustainable," Skrtic said. "We grew up in Shelton. We love Shelton."
He co-founded Celebrate Shelton three years ago with Nicole Heriot-Mikula, owner of Bring the Hoopla. They've since been joined in their efforts by Jimmy Tickey.
"It's not hard for a small group of people to create a hub of creativity and community," Skrtic added. Once they got this started, "It's almost a domino effect."
The handmade markets also sometimes coordinate with the farmers market for events: "We have an amazing farmers market here," Skrtic said.
He's enthusiastic about promoting cottage industries -- such as small-scale farming, baked goods, crafts, personal care products and more -- and in the role they can have.
"That's how we developed our economy," he added.
The markets will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Conti Building is at 415 Howe Ave. in Shelton.
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