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Craftspeople needed for ‘summer social’ fundraiser

WESTFIELD 14- Local craftspeople are sought for a unique fundraiser next month to benefit the historic Dewey House.

The second annual Summer Social Craft Fair is slated June 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the lawn of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement on Court Street. A rain date of June 22 has been set.

“My goal is to offer local craftspeople a venue to showcase their creations,” said Julie Leavitt, vice president of programming for the Western Hampden Historical Society (WHHS) and trustee of the Dewey House. “Everything at this show will be handcrafted with pride locally.”

Julie Leavitt pours samples of ‘herbal shrubs,’ a popular colonial drink, during an open house at the Dewey House. (Submitted photo)

At press time, close to 15 crafters have reserved a 12’ x 12’ spot, however, space is limited and pre-registration is required. Crafters are asked to provide their own table, chair and canopy. The cost is $30 per space.

“Some of our crafters make jewelry, blankets, purses and bags, woodcrafts, lamps, candles and soaps, just to name a few,” said Leavitt, adding, “there’s something for everyone.”

Leavitt has set a goal of featuring 30 crafters for the event.

WHHS members are hopeful to raise at least $1,000 through fees for each of the craft booths, along with a small raffle and donations, which will benefit the house’s preservation fund.

“While there (fortunately) isn’t anything in dire need of repair at the Dewey House at the time, should something happen, it may take a special craftsperson to come in to replicate something so that the aesthetics of the historic home remain intact,” said Leavitt.

In addition to the craftspeople, members of the Dewey House Board of Trustees will be on-site with information about the house, as well as details about joining the WHHS. Also, Leavitt hopes to have several food vendors at the event.

“The WHHS owns and maintains the Dewey House, and we are always looking to have people join us to keep our history alive for future generations,” said Leavitt, adding, “All of our fundraising goes towards the Dewey House preservation fund.”

Crafters interested in participating in the summer social fundraiser are asked to email Leavitt at [email protected] or call (413) 454-5371.

“The location is a wonderful venue as it hosts our seasonal Westfield Farmers’ Market and other craft and art shows,” said Leavitt. “It’s an opportunity to showcase the amazing craftspeople in our area.”

On a related note, a Spring Open House at the Dewey House is planned June 2 from noon to 4 p.m. at 87 South Maple St.

“Several of our volunteers will be dressed in period costumes and will be giving tours and information on life in the 1700s,” said Leavitt, adding that refreshments will also be provided and demonstrations will include spinning, basket weaving and herb gardening.

A kitchen herb presentation at the Dewey House. (Submitted photo)

Leavitt noted that the Dewey House is the only colonial era home in Westfield open to the public as a museum.

“When people come to visit, everyone loves how warm and inviting the house is, despite its age (circa 1735),” said Leavitt. “People will say ‘I’ve lived in Westfield my entire life and have never been here before,’ or ‘I never miss an open house, and I learn something new each time.’ We love showing off our little jewel.”

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