Hometown talent on display at Iuka Craft Show

Nine local vendors from the City of Iuka, Kansas joined together to put on a first-of-its-kind craft show in their hometown Saturday. For a small town with a population less than 150, the level of talent on display was amazing.

“It all started over a cup of coffee,” said Iuka Mayor Marsha Giggy. “After the 4th of July parade here, we thought we would like to do something else for the community. The women of town meet for a ladies coffee every month and at one of those meetings we decided we should showcase the talent of crafters we have right here. Why not a craft show?”

Giggy is one of the nine crafters who brought items to sell September 9 at the Old School Outfitter’s building in Iuka. On Friday already, the former schoolhouse gym was filled with rope baskets, stylish purses and bags, sports team decor, holiday-themed artwork, specialty clothing, mugs, and even a hallway of unique, repurposed furniture.

“We decided to feature the work of only people who live in Iuka,” Giggy said. “And we have completely handmade items, a nice variety of everything from seasonal crafts to home decor, all made from wood, material, mostly natural things. It is just amazing to see what is being produced from this community.”

Joining Giggy for the craft fair were vendors Susie Boese, Sherry Becker, Carol Struna, Sue Griffith, Tiffany Barker, Chelsee Briggeman, Chelsea Henry and Tracy Keeling.

Serving up coffee and good treats to eat in The Lunchroom Cafe’ and Coffee cafeteria was Caitlyn Laha. Saturday was also designated for citywide garage sales in Iuka and there were literally, good deals on every corner. It was well worth the short trip north of Pratt on U.S. Highway 281 for those who made the effort.

“This has been so much fun to see it all come together,” Giggy said. “One step in here and it’s like, ‘Oh my gosh, this is a real craft fair!’”

Giggy, a longtime resident of the northern Pratt County area, said she and her Iuka pals were please with the turnout from surrounding communities.

“We all do these crafts because we love creating, and for me – it keeps me out of my husband’s hair,” Giggy said. “But we also love sharing what we make, so this was a perfect idea to help us strengthen community connections and give us something positive to celebrate in rural Kansas. We love our town and want to share that as well.”

The Lunchroom Cafe’ and Coffee continues to serve First Friday dinners each month and will reopen for Saturday breakfast and lunch service in November in Iuka. More hours and days open will be posted on their Facebook page as needed.