Despite the ongoing COVID pandemic, shoppers turned out this weekend to the Moore County Community Building for the annual Dumas Noon Lions Club Arts and Crafts Festival. According to many of the vendors, they were in a buying mood. Rhonda McDaniel and Lisa Green of Dumas were on their fourth year Saturday selling hand-made quilts at the festival. “It has been very good this year,” said McDaniel. “We are not disappointed.”
The turnout this weekend was good news for Lion James Mahaffey, who was in charge of the event for the Lions. The Arts and Crafts Festival is a major fundraiser for the Lions. Though it is too soon to know the exact tally, Mahaffey said he expects that the Lions will receive around $3000 to help support the club’s charitable activities. The Lions contribute money annually to more than 50 causes and non-profit organizations, such as Christmas presents and meals for families in need and eyeglasses for those who cannot otherwise afford them, among other things.
Mahaffey said there had only been one or two vendors cancel at the last minute this year. Unlike last year when several vendors backed out over fear of COVID, the pandemic was much less of a factor this year. Few masks were in evidence.
There were about 70 vendors offering a variety of arts and crafts, foods, clothing, decorative items and other products. Many of the items were hand made, though there were manufactured things on offer as well. In 2018, there were only about 50 vendors, so the festival has grown considerably. Mahaffey said many vendors have already signed up to return next year.
Vendors came from all over the Panhandle this year to take part, with many having made multiple appearances over the years. Laura Bastillos of Laura’s Kitchen in Sunray was on her third year selling home-made salsa. Mother and daughter Jackie Otts of Dalhart and Jessica Barkley of Amarillo were also on their third year. They were selling home-made pickles, jelly, and decorative items. Otts said business had been good, with one customer who bought jelly in the morning on Saturday returning for more that afternoon. Potter Mary Gonzalez of Amarillo, another third-timer, said customer traffic was good Saturday morning but declined some by the afternoon. Still, she did find customers for her hand-made pottery. Neal and Karen Lee of Pampa were selling hand-decorated tumblers. Linda Watson of Dumas was selling acrylic paintings and storage boxes that she had decorated with her acrylic painting technique. This was her first time offering art for sale at this or any other festival. In fact, she said she only took up painting in the past year. She agreed that crowds were heavier in the morning and had come in “spurts” afterwards, but she said she had made sales, especially of the boxes. Another mother and daughter team making a first appearance this weekend was Daphlyn Andrew and Dar-Lyne Pena. They were selling home decor items. They said they had had “lots of business” and had signed up to return next year. “We loved it,” said Andrew.
In addition to vendors selling wares, seniors from the Dumas High School (DHS) Class of 2022, including sisters Viryhana and Viriyha Pizzaro, were on hand conducting a raffle to raise money for Project Graduation, an effort to provide graduating seniors with a safe celebration and to purchase items that new college students will need next year when they find themselves living in dorm rooms and apartments away from home for the first time.
As always, young people from the DHS Leo Club and the Amarillo College Moore County Campus Lions Club were helping out working in the concession stand and doing other needed things to keep the event going smoothly.
This was Mahaffey’s first year in charge, though he has been a part of putting on the festival in one way or another for the last 12 years. Lions Rose Dean and Bruce Milbern, in charge for the last several years, both died since the 2020 festival, and Mahaffey, a Lion for many decades and who lives in Amarillo now, stepped in. “I didn’t want it to stop,” he said.