County Holiday Bazaar
holiday gift items
to be available at annual bazaar
boasts more than
50 booths of skilled artisans
Helen E. McKinney
NEW CASTLE, Ky. (October 2008) Earl Fortners
interest in leather craft began in 1966 when he was in high school.
After perfecting his craft through many years of experience, he is still
making anything and everything that can be fashioned out of leather.
work is shown above.
The outcome was several wallets and purses which his father
took to work with him at General Electric Co. and sold. As demand grew
for his handcrafted artwork, Fortner, 57, was encouraged to pursue his
hobby of leather craft further. In addition to belts, he also makes
cell phone cases, leather knife sheaths and repairs horse saddles and
Fortner, from Defoe, Ky., is one of many artists participating in the
16th annual Holiday Bazaar, set for Saturday, Nov. 8. The show runs
from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the Henry County 4H Fairgrounds Building
on Hwy. 421. This bazaar is sponsored by the Henry County Extension
More than 30 booths will feature artists and craftspeople selling music
boxes, turned wooden bowls, hand painted gourds, painted furniture,
jewelry, oil paintings, candles, holiday decorations, hand-tied brooms
and toy tractors.
Lunch will be served by the Senior Citizens from Tri-County Community
Action Agency. The Henry County Chamber of Commerce will be selling
cookbooks and pictorial history books. County organizations such as
the Smithfield Garden Club,New Castle Methodist Women, Hillview Farms
and Town and Country will also be on hand.
Upon graduation from high school, Fortner took a job at Brunswick Co.
in Henry County, working in the cutting department. His first position
was laying out material to be cut for golf bag parts. He then moved
on to cutting the parts with a cutting knife and then a die cutting
Next, Fortner received the job of hand cutting all sample bags and special
I even made a bag for Bob Hope and various other well known people,
said Fortner. I learned a lot there said Fortner of his
27 years at Brunswick Co.
All the while he had not neglected his fervor for leather working. Drawing
on this added experience from his positions at Brunswick Co., Fortner
ordered even more tools, machines and various other supplies to craft
small leather articles for customers. But when he purchased a farm,
he reluctantly gave up leather working for three years.
Not happy with this decision, he built a shop, sold his farm and began
creating horse tack, belts and other leather items from his home near
I also started repairing saddles and just about anything made
with leather, said Fortner. What started as a hobby has now picked
up lately due to the many leather repairs he has gotten requests for.
Fortner attended the bazaar for the first time last year and said many
people shop for Christmas gifts. He takes part in other Guild sponsored
events such as the Harvest Showcase and the annual Henry County Arts
and Crafts Guild Show.
I enjoy meeting people and selling my work, said Buehler,
a Guild member.
I only do craft shows in the fall, said Buehler. Someone
suggested that she take part in the bazaar and it is now one show that
she wont miss.
Some of the items Betty Buehler crafts are scroll saw Christmas ornaments,
Santa Claus dolls, quilted Christmas purses, and appliquéd sweatshirts.
Donna Williams, a Master broommaker and juried member of Kentucky Crafted,
is returning to this years bazaar after a few years hiatus.
The Holiday Bazaar is a wonderful event close to home, said
Williams. It is a great benefit for the community and county,
as well as a fundraiser for the Homemakers and for the Henry County
Although Williams is not currently a member of the Guild, she was a
founding member along with several other artists who envisioned a creative
outlet for Henry County artists.
Such events as the bazaar are a wonderful outlet for local artists,
and artists like Rodger Combs (feather painting) who lives in Bardstown
but has family ties in Henry County, she said.
It is also a chance to purchase some very unique, one of a kind,
hand-crafted gifts and miss all of those crowded mall parking lots,
while supporting our local agricultural economy, said Henry County
Extension Agent Maryellen Garrison.
For more information on the 16th Annual
Holiday Bazaar in New Castle contact Maryellen Garrison at (502) 845-2811.
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