Craft fair brings a little bit of country to Victoria

Bianca Montes By Bianca Montes

Aug. 14, 2013 at 3:14 a.m.

Connie Parrack wanted to find the perfect toy for her granddaughters, something they could cuddle up to when she was not around.

She drove all around town searching for something that was soft enough to rub against their skin and strong enough to evoke a grandmother's love.

She searched and searched, but she was not able to find something in her price range, so she got into her car, drove to the fabric store, bought a pattern for a small stuffed teddy bear and started sewing.

Ten years later, she is still sewing and has made 800 stuffed teddy bears. This weekend, she will bring part of her collection to the second annual Victoria Faire.

The Victoria Faire, which promoter Jerry Shelton likes to refer to as bringing the country to the city, opens at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Victoria Community Center on North Street.

Admission to the fair is $3, which covers both days. Attendees who bring a nonperishable food item will receive $1 off of admission.

The food will be donated to the Food Bank of Golden Crescent, which provides food for 23,000 people in the Crossroads region, said executive director Robin Cadle.

"The partnership with these different entities is priceless for us," Cadle said. "We get excited because it means that they share in our mission to help heal the hurt of hunger."

Lewanna Campbell, show director, said every show that Texas Market Guide puts on sponsors a local food bank.

"I did some volunteering near a local food bank near my home in Kyle, and I got to see firsthand when people came in to get food," Campbell said. "I'm a mom, and I have a soft spot for people struggling with kids."

Parrack, who also did the faire last year, said she likes to be a part of an event that promoted love. After all, that is the mission of her crafting business MiMi Loves Bears.

"There are a lot of grandmothers who are called Mimi," she said. "Us grandmothers know that every child needs something to hold and cuddle with or something to cry with or something to make them safe."

Parrack said each of her bears is unique, and styles range from basic fabric to bears made out of suede with all types of tapestry.

As to what is unique about her bears, she said, "All are filled with love, and I rock them all when I am finished."

Parrack, and more than 40 Texas vendors, will set up shop at the community center Saturday and Sunday. Shelton said there is a vendor for anyone - even the men.

"At a craft shop, you know you're buying something made in America, that has been held by someone you can revere because of their talent," Parrack said. "You're putting your money into something that is one of a kind."



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