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Fairfield gift festival to be held

Richard D. L. Fulton

(9/23) The annual International Gift Festival & Oriental Rug Event has been slated to occur on November 5 through 9 at the Fairfield Mennonite Church, 201 W Main Street. The popular event will be held from 10 am to 7 pm, except on Saturday, November 9, when the hours will be from 9 am to 5 pm. A free public seminar, "Introduction to Oriental Rug," will also be held at the church on November 7 at 7 pm.

This year, which represents the 53rd year for the festival, the event is being sponsored by Ten Thousand Villages, a Mechanicsburg company. Linda Polley, manager at Ten Thousand Villages, said the business offered to take over the event upon hearing that the retirement of prior sponsors might mean the festival wouldn’t continue. "We decided to step up to take it on so it could continue," Polley stated.

The festival features "fairly traded" items from over 35 countries including gift items, home decor, personal accessories, Christmas decorations, pottery, onyx, and more, all made by artisans from around the world.

The selection of rugs alone includes over 300 hand-knotted rugs, "all made by fairly- paid adults," from sizes of 2'x3' to 10'x14,' for sale by the Rug Room at Ten Thousand Villages.

"For 53 years, Fairfield has been at the forefront of the fair trade movement, long before socially responsible businesses were popular," event coordinators stated. The local events "have been empowering artisans. Fair trade grew up here."

The fair trade concept is premised upon helping to eradicate global poverty through market-based solution.

Fairfield Mennonite Church member Ruth Musselman is credited with having helped establish the event in Fairfield in 1961, along with other members of the church congregation. "Since that first year the members of Fairfield Mennonite Church and volunteers from the surrounding community have worked together to continue the sale, carrying on the work" to support artisans around the world, according to information on the event web site.

For additional information, contact Ten Thousand Villages at 717-796-1474, or the Fairfield Mennonite Church at 717-796-1474.

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