The 2011 Sunapee Fair has come and gone, and once again the Guild’s tent remains a real crowd pleaser. Every day, people attending the fair were clustered around Guild members demonstrating a variety of woodworking skills.  They also looked at the thirty-two remarkable items donated for our raffle and reached for their wallets and purses.

Last year we had record-setting raffle sales which was easily explained. We had nine days of perfect New Hampshire summer weather and thirty-eight items (another record) to raffle! We probably won’t be able to do that again, and sure enough the weather was a problem this year. The forecasts were actually worse than what we experienced, and had the effect of fewer fair attendees on seven out of the nine days. But wait—as I did the daily tallies, the sales were close to last year’s! At the end of the fair, despite lower attendance and dire weather forecasts, we were only $198 below last year’s total! How can this be?

Windsor furniture, Shaker furniture, Adirondack furniture, a stunning variety of turned bowls, pens, lidded boxes, peppermills, wooden toys, M&M dispensers, cutting boards, a handmade lidded box, a humidor and last, a strange hollowed Big Spruce burl from Les Huckins and Nova Scotia. This is how it was possible—generous, skilled Guild members donated thirty-two items and all sold raffle tickets.

Guitar makers, wood carvers, wood turners, a toy maker, hand-cut dovetails, inlay work, joinery, and the way to sharpen your tools provided fairgoers with a glimpse into the special world of woodworking.

Lastly, the public was at the mercy of our ever more skillful band of raffle ticket sellers. Always smiling, they wait inside the tent surrounded by all the items from the Windsor candle stand to the cherry bow front table way over there or they wander about, welcoming those coming through the gate, walking by the tent or watching one of the many demonstrators. They wait for the perfect moment to suggest a visitor might want to take a glance and perhaps then a chance at winning one of the beautiful handmade pieces donated by our members.

It all worked. Once again I am so grateful to be part of this fine organization and to work with so many talented, generous people.

by A Hansen