Cindy Farrell, owner of Vermont Cow Candles, checks out a display of homemade wooden signs.

ST. ALBANS TOWN — While rain stalled the crowds, vendor Mary Kay DuPrat still had a solid day at the First Annual Harvest, Home and Hearth Fest held Saturday, Oct. 2, in St. Albans Bay Park.

As the owner of Hot Fingers Custom Wood Burning, DuPrat had set up shop just inside the bay park's Stone House to show off her inventory of wood-burned signs. The crowds were sporadic because of Saturday's overcast weather, but local vendors like her still made it work in their favor — networking with others and finding buyers among those that braved the rain.

“When you're supporting local crafters, you're supporting your friends, the crafting network and others in the county,” DuPrat said.

The event's primary sponsors and organizers, Colomont CBD and Finley's Cafe, had planned for much larger crowds to kick off the annual fundraiser. Five bands had been scheduled to take the stage from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the day's schedule included food trucks, pumpkin carvings, a 50/50 raffle, train rides provided by the Big Blue Trunk and lawn game tournaments. 

The overall goal was to raise money for local nonprofits Tim's House and Martha's Kitchen.

Then Saturday's all-day rain happened. 

Despite the weather, Chris Santee, CEO of Colomont CBD, still saw the day as a success. While he didn't have the fundraising total available Saturday, Santee said he had already deposited over $2,000 as a result of those who showed up. He expected more to come in from the event's silent auction.

“Overall, I think it was a success,” Santee said. “We did get dollars into the hands that need it.”

The more than 40 vendors who braved the weather also found some successes selling their hand-made goods. While crowds were sparse, crafters had time to meet with other vendors and talk shop in the crowded Stone House. Organizers had opened up the wings to fit in more vendors.

“They made room for people inside, which was awesome,” Nicole Langevin, the ProcrastiKnitter, said. Her stall was filled with cozy hats, scarves and knitted pumpkins.

“We're getting to know people, and we're getting our names out there as producers,” Darcy Young, owner of Purl and Post, said. She also appreciated the fund-raising aspect of the event.

Other vendors had a good time being able to just talk about what they do. From cow-painted candles to DuPrat's custom signs, everyone brought something a little different to the mix.

“It's a lot of fun,” DuPrat said about her work. “It's my happy place and a little bit of therapy at the same time.”

“Even though it was a slow day, we're helping people's futures,” Finley's Cafe owner Emmy Burrington said.

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