Local crafter Jennifer Hale

Local crafter Jennifer Hale always draws a crowd with the intricately-adorned, hand-shaped and painted Santa ornaments she’s made for more than two decades under her Clay & Pine business storefront. You can check out Hale’s current ornament offerings @clayandpine on Facebook.

An annual local holiday tradition pointed the way over the weekend to a potentially strong start to the Christmas shopping season, with guests at the two-day Vinemont Band Boosters Craft Show lingering right up until closing time on Saturday.

Shoppers browsed through the day on both Friday and Saturday, picking out unique handmade items — many of them Christmas-themed — from more than 60 booths staffed by crafters from Cullman County and beyond. For the second year in a row, the crafts show was held at Cullman Church of Christ on Alabama Highway 157, after opening for years at the old Cullman Civic Center (now the home of Desperation Church as the City of Cullman works on constructing a new civic center).

Though there were plenty of ornaments, mantlepieces, Christmas clothing items and more holiday goodies, the show also featured handmade goods meant to be enjoyed at any time of year, from leather items and knives to pottery, candles, and homemade food treats.

Proceeds from the sale go to the Vinemont Band Boosters, and help fund non-budgeted expenses that arise throughout the year. In the past, the crafts show has helped the Vinemont band supplement its supply of musical instruments and repair band uniforms. Though attendance lagged slightly during the throes of COVID-19 in 2020, organizers said this year’s event appeared to attract plenty of shoppers — perhaps an optimistic signal that local retailers generally might enjoy a more robust Christmas shopping season for 2021.

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