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Ryerson Hall in El Centro Hosts Bustling Craft Fair

EL CENTRO — A large collection of local shoppers gathered at Ryerson Hall in the Desert Trails RV Park in El Centro on the morning of Nov. 30 to support local artisans and patrol for creative gifts.

The local craft group, led by Carole Waters, helped arrange the craft fair, which featured more than a dozen booths offering handcrafted creations.

“We’ve been putting on these sales for the better part of 20 years,” said Waters. “We host two sales per year here at Ryerson Hall, one in November and one in February.”

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She added, “Some of the sellers are from here at the RV park, snowbirds. I’m heading back to central Alberta myself come March. But most of the people who set up tables today are local businesses to the (Imperial) Valley,” she said.

Among the entrepreneurs were Karen and Chris Sanchez, co-owners of “Early Girl Creations,” an Imperial-based operation that focuses on creating and selling natural, hemp-based beauty and hygiene products.

The company first began selling to the public during the “Christmas in a Small Town” event held in Imperial in 2014 and will attend this year’s edition on Dec. 7.

“We create all of our products,” confirmed Karen Sanchez. “We truly believe in the power and usefulness of hemp and CBD as studies have proven them to be full of essential nutrients. We mainly sell soaps, oils and rubs. One of our main ingredients is hemp oil, and we are involved in making the products from scratch.”

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The company’s method of making soap differs significantly from what is available in most retail stores.

“It’s all plant based. For example, to make one of our soap bars we mix coconut and olive oil with an alkali. In contrast, conventional soaps use animal fat, which clogs up the pores of the skin,” she said.

Almost every shopper at the fair stopped at Sherry Nash’s table, as her works almost seem to be eye-catching by design. Nash specializes in acrylic pour, a type of medium which, when finished, can display brilliant swirls and patterns of bright colors.

“I’ve been an artist my whole life,” recounted Nash. “I only started selling my works about two years ago.”

She added, “It mainly started due to word of mouth, as my friends began buying my works. Next thing you know, I was doing commissions. Then I started selling at events like these.”

Added Nash, “One of my dreams is to open up an arts center. There’s so much talent in the valley, so many artists, and a lot of them are present at this event even.”


This story is featured in the Dec 05, 2019 e-Edition.