Shoppers flock to the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair – Medford news, weather, sports, breaking news

Karen Szyuk of Liongate Farm holds an ornament she made during the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday in Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Wood creations from Bill Henry’s Crafts, Wood, and ETC are on display at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday at Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Wood creations by Bill Henry’s Crafts, Wood, and ETC at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday at Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Will Markling of Old World Candy in Ashland picks up some bullshit for a local client at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday at Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

The holiday market at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday at Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Creations by Karen Szewc of Liongate Farm are displayed Saturday during the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Parking lots were full on Saturday for the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

People check out the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair on Saturday at Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Creations by Karen Szewc of Liongate Farm are displayed Saturday during the holiday market at the Jackson County Fair in Central Point. [Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune]

Liongate farm owner Karen Szyuk had an accident over the summer that left her recovering in a neck brace and head bandage, but that didn’t stop her from embracing clients with a smile and showing off her homemade ornaments at the Jackson County Expo holiday market this weekend.

Eagle Point-based Liongate Farm has joined forces with more than 100 other vendors across three buildings in Central Point’s sprawling event space. The event continues on Sunday, and admission is free.

“It’s the first holiday show of the year. It’s just a really good place to meet people and get our products out to the community,” Szewc said. “They love my stuff, and I tell them, ‘Happy Birthday!’

While other vendors sold jam and jewelry, Szewc had ready-made trinkets or gifts made from the wool of the Bluefaced Leicester sheep she raises. The collectibles in the booth ranged from the Capricorn to the ridiculous – a peace lion and a frog with a “maver’s eye”, not to mention ordinary snowmen. And what else, of course? Sheep.

“I like making high-quality trinkets or gifts that people can keep for years rather than commercially produced trinkets,” Szewc said.

Judging by the enthusiasm at the Liongate Farm booth, it was clear that customers, like Kim Spann, loved what they saw.

“My first stop,” Spahn said, referring to the Liongate farm. “I just love her little creatures. They are so cute.”

She got sewn reindeer and pumpkins from Szewc, plus two of her own ornaments.

When it came to other vendors at the holiday market, there was plenty to offer on Saturday – from Siskiyou Beehive honey to chocolate peanut butter candy, from essential oil to olive oil, from metallic lawn banners to wooden plaques holding Santa cows saying “Get the MOOO-RI Christmas!”

Sarah Butcher, co-owner of Rogue Water IET, has been coming to the holiday market as a business owner for a few years, even before forming her current company two years ago. Rogue Water IET manufactures metal lawn and walls with a water table.

“We love[the holiday market]— it’s a great way to meet new people. We see a lot of happy faces,” Butcher said.

One of those happy faces was Medford resident Leona Westdale, who has lived in the area for years but has never visited the holiday market yet.

“I’ve always wanted to go. I don’t really have a plan,” Westdale said. I want to eat and smell delicious food.”

She pointed to a jacket for her dog as something she might buy at the event, but if nothing else, the holiday market would be a way for her to learn about other Valley businesses she could shop later.

All the while, Christmas tunes, from traditional music (“Santa Claus is coming to town”) to modern (Mariah Carey “Christmas”) were heard over the loudspeakers.

“I’m the Grinch, I’m stingy—I don’t care about the holidays,” said Westdale, laughing. “I’m kidding. It’s very festive and beautiful.”

Julie Ferrara, of Eagle Point, has been coming to the holiday market for three years, determined to buy gifts for her family. This includes her 20-year-old twins who are living at home and trying to find an apartment.

“I just realized it’s time for Christmas, and I need to buy gifts,” Ferrara said. “As long as you don’t buy anything too expensive and go crazy, you can still stay within your budget.”

Her comments come amid concerns many people have about inflation, which the National Retail Federation touched on in a recent press release. While 62% of shoppers surveyed in September said spending is important and that they would cut back in other areas of their budgets to meet their vacation needs, 43% of them said they don’t earn enough money to cover these costs.

Westdahl emphasized that she is keen to spend wherever she goes. Like Ferreira, you see the holiday market as a magnet for valley dwellers in part for what it isn’t – a shopping mall.

“The only nice thing about something like this is if I’m spending to support a local artist, it helps,” Westdahl said.

The Holiday Market at the Jackson County Fair, 1 Benninger Road, Central Point, opens at 10 a.m. Sunday and closes at 3 p.m. Free admission. For more information, log on to https://attheexpo.com/holiday-market/

Contact journalist Kevin Opsahl at 541-776-4476 or kopsahl@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevJourno

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