What a difference a year makes. The Victorian Belles Christmas Bazaar held at the Three Rivers Casino Events Center was almost back to normal. Last year was a very strict protocol to enter the Casino, only half as many tables were set up by the Victorian Belles, and only about 1/3 as many attendees were there to look and buy. I sold less than half as many books as I usually sell.
This year had no strict protocols to enter. You did need a mask, however, and most people social distanced. Nearly all Victorian Belles’ tables were set up this year. Some of the invited participants did not show, but two writers in our “Book Nook” were there. There were about 3/4 the number of usual attendees. And I sold 32 books, which is almost as many as I usually sell. So, it really was almost back to normal.
The Victorian Belles are a group of talented women who started out as a small group of tole painters and has grown to a fairly large group that do all types of arts and crafts such as crocheted and knitted items, jewelry, and ornaments, wreaths and other forms of holiday decor.
The Belles spend much of the year preparing for this event, and it takes a crew of several husbands and sons as well as the Belles to set up each year. The sounds of hammers and drills were all around. Containers were brought in and stacked everywhere filled with crafts and artwork. The belles mix and match much of their crafts and art at the tables.
Some members don’t have their work intermingled. They have their work separate, such as Linda Westlund, who has fruitcakes, earrings, crocheted scarf-and-hat sets, and many crocheted hats of more than one style. This year I got one for me and a few years ago, I got some of her outragious earrings.
We writers are usually set up in a corner and put up our sign––Book Nook. This is my 11th year to participate. The first few years we had a number of other writers join us, but the past several years have just been the three of us––Connie Bradley, Karen D. Nichols, and me. Connie was unable to attend this year, but Karen and I were there––the same situation as last year.
Besides the Victorian Belles, most years, I am a part of about 25 to 30 different events. They include my own PowerPoint presentations, book fairs, farmers markets, and craft shows. Last year, I was a part of only one and that was the Victorian Belles, and this year two events, the Florence Festival of Books and the Belles. So, my book sales have really taken a hit. Some of the booksellers that sell my books returned to buying my books this year, thank goodness.
So, greeting people, giving my spiel about my books, and selling them, was just such a treat. I loved it! I was back in the saddle again. I enjoy this aspect of being an author and have missed this contact with people these past couple years. I’ve very glad the Victorian Belles Christmas Bazaar was happening once again and that they invited us.
It is usually held the weekend before Thanksgiving, so mark your calendar for 2022.