RIVER FALLS — For 40 years River Falls students have welcomed thousands of people into the doors of the high school to buy from local creatives for one weekend day each fall season.
This year, the Future Business Leaders of America team, a self-sufficient group, is hosting over 75 vendors for the annual craft fair 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 23 to raise funds for FBLA transportation costs.
Child care will still be available for parents who wish to browse booths independently, an effort which has been running for almost a decade and provided by up to 80 high school students involved in child development courses.
Some vendors were interested in signing up for a booth were contacting the school as early as the end of summer to reserve a spot, but high school business education teacher Kris Thompson said preparations for the event can’t really take off until school starts and students are ready to tackle the many planning responsibilities.
Though there is some help from Thompson and teacher and FBLA adviser Deb Ottman, the event is completely student-run. Ottman said the event is unique in that it allows cross-categorical experiences for students with various interests.
Each year a student, usually a FBLA senior, is chosen for an independent study program where coordinating the craft fair is the main priority in the fall. This year that is Allison Raverty.
“We’re continuing to evolve and make the event better. It really brings us together, making sure everything is running smoothly,” Raverty said.
Students not only run the event but also promote and showcase their work done in clubs such as National Honors Society and classes. This year, students will have the opportunity to bring projects created from the new STEM lab equipment to the table.
Those involved with the event planning are learning skills they will carry into their future college and workforce experiences.
“I learned how to talk to people, communicate advertising, maps and ordering food,” Raverty said. She will be pursuing a degree in engineering and believes her leadership skills she employed during the craft fair coordination process will be vital.
“The event contributes to the community sense in River Falls, the community has been very supportive of the school,” Thompson said.
Attending the craft fair and childcare is free to all. Food, including gluten-free options, will be available for purchase all day.