The 58th annual Umpqua Wildlife Rescue Fall Craft Fair kicked off its two-day run Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Officials of the Wildlife Rescue, which is in its third year of hosting the fall craft fair, said all 120 booths available for the event were sold. The event raises money for their animal rehab program to help the recovery efforts of injured wildlife.

The fair, which for 55 years was put on by the Business and Professional Women’s group in Roseburg, draws vendors from Douglas County and even some from nearby counties with crafts, food, clothing and many varied goods.

Crafts are juried, and all are handmade by the vendors. Umpqua Wildlife Rescue has it’s own booth at the fair with information about wildlife rehabilitation and photos of some of the animals they have cared for.

Fair coordinator Rhiannon LaFaerique said the fair attracts a lot of repeat business from people who have had booths at the fair for years.

“We do, but we also get some new ones. The new ones are about 20% (of the vendors),” LaFaerique said.

Kellen Swanson and his wife, Laura, from Corvallis, have the Tumalo Bow Tie booth. Swanson said the idea of making wooden bow ties has really caught on. They even had one of their bow ties worn on the red carpet during the Oscar awards. They started making other wooden items like bottle openers, notebooks and knives with many different kinds of wood. This is their first trip to the Fall Fair in Douglas County.

“They’ve caught on really well. It’s a very trendy fashion and a good conversation piece and we can customize and put names on it and engrave different images, they’re really fun,” Swanson said.

Stacia Macalister of Myrtle Creek was fascinated with the 1950s so her creations were from the styles of that era.

“I love everything about the 1950s, especially the polka dots, and I couldn’t find a apron pattern I liked. So I drew myself one and made it for my sisters-in-law for Christmas, and they fell in love with them,” Macalister said. “So I’ve been doing it for the last four years.”

Michele Avanti of Roseburg brought her art coasters, mugs, blankets, prints, tapestry and even books that she has authored to sell in her booth. She started her art work at an early age.

“As soon as I got hold of a crayon, I started drawing dogs, cats, hands or whatever,” she said.

Peggy Cheatham, president of Umpqua Wildlife Rescue, said the organization is an all-volunteer nonprofit that has been in Douglas County since 1987. It was established by two wildlife biologists with the goal of creating a more intimate rehab experience and more quality control by not using resources to support a center, but using their revenue to directly help the animals.

“Umpqua Wildlife Rescue is sort of the umbrella that supports the individual licensed rehabbers in Douglas County,” Cheatham said. “UWR supports by providing food, caging, and medical supplies.”

There is no admission charge for the fair, but donations of canned goods for the UCAN Food Pantry are collected at the door by local 4-H dog clubs. They also collect any cash donations, which can be donated to either UCAN or the Umpqua Wildlife Rescue.

The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at Douglas Hall at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.

Reporter Dan Bain can be reached at 541-957-4221 or e-mail at dbain@nrtoday.com.

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Dan Bain is the health reporter for The News-Review. He previously worked at KPIC and 541 Radio.

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