It’s that time of the year when finding a perfect gift begins as a slow train of thoughts and list-making and ends in feverish Google searches for something special as the holidays approach. No matter how uncommercial you are going this year, inevitably you will be purchasing a gift for a Secret Santa, White Elephant, Pink Pony—whatever the title may be. Even if your gifts will be lovingly handmade at your kitchen table or purchased online while enjoying a cup of coffee with Christmas movies on in the background, shopping can be a daunting experience. For some, it’s a nice day out with the girls where bargains are lauded over lunch and wine after a few stores have been canvassed. And, still some will ceremoniously fight the crowds and lines to nab that great find at nearby malls.
The best shopping experiences can come from unexpected places like craft shows. It can be very exciting and also awe-inspiring to attend a great exposition of upscale handmade items. From painted vases to hand-dripped candles to dried flower arrangements and meticulously knit baby boots, a great arts and craft event can have you crossing off your shopping list in one stop. The other great aspect of buying in this manner is you are almost always supporting an individual or mom-and-pop type operation, and likely someone who has dedicated their hearts and hours of hard work to create a special piece. For the crafters, holiday shows are the pinnacle of their year, and they rely on these events as their largest revenue stream.
This weekend, Sarasota’s premiere arts and crafts extravaganza, Atomic Holiday Bazaar, descends on Sarasota for an exciting two-day event. Now in its 13th season, this Indie craft festival has become a mainstay on the craft-seekers circuit and for good reason. The event bills itself as funky and eclectic, so shoppers can rest-assured there will be no boredom as they peruse the various booths. They say Atomic Holiday Bazaar “is not your Granny’s craft show,” and though mostly family-friendly, there are some “PG” rated items.
So, what can one expect to find at a show of this magnitude? Well, just about everything. This year’s roster is quite impressive with a list of local small businesses that we should all know and support throughout the year, not just at Christmastime. One-of-a-kind gifts are the best and at Atomic Holiday Bazaar, you will have sensory overload with the creativity and ingenuity that abounds. Do you like funky t-shirts? Well, you’ll be laughing while you load up on them as you read their funny quips. Interesting jewelry is always fun to give and receive so if you’re into bangles, crystals, hoops, charms or sparkly things, you might not make it past the jewelry tables. Art in all of its forms, unique children’s gifts, and vintage clothing including extensive Boho-inspired items are just a few of the other items you’ll see there.
Jamie Lovern, owner of Lolablue in North Port has been a vendor at Atomic Holiday Bazaar for 12 years and she can’t wait for this weekend’s festivities. Jamie adds, “We love Atomic! It’s the best holiday shopping event of the year in our opinion.” Lolablue’s soap samples will be featured in the famous swag bags that are given to the first 100 visitors each day. Jamie promises that Atomic Holiday Bazaar is “definitely a show to find the perfect gift for everyone on your list, naughty or nice.” Atomic Holiday Bazaar runs Dec 8-9 from noon to 5 at Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Main Room admission is $5/adults, children 12 and under free. Bay Front Room and Street Fair are free to enter. If you’d like more information on Atomic Holiday Bazaar, please visit their FB page here.
Photos courtesy of Atomic Holiday Bazaar Facebook page.