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30 Years After It Began

Holiday shopping in North Central Kansas

The Craft Basket Alton, Kansas 1987

The other day a funny little post was going around Facebook that said; “October is here which means it’s basically Thanksgiving…Christmas is next week!!”. I know that sounds a little exaggerated but really; the holiday season is nearly upon us!

Along with the holiday season this year comes an added reason to celebrate… The Craft Basket Turns 30!! Yes I said it… we are 30 years old.

Can you imagine how many people have come through the little town of Alton, in North Central Kansas, to do their Christmas shopping. Can you imagine just how many amazing handcrafted gifts have gone out the door of the community room and headed down highway 24 to become part of someone’s holiday. And can you even begin to imagine how many hours of hard work have gone into all of those handmade treasures, and how many hours of work have gone on behind the scenes to get our little craft store open for business every November and December for the past 30 years.The craft basket Alton Kansas

There may not be a record of all those ‘how manys’ but tucked away in an old book for safe keeping is a report that says it took approximately 200 hours of work just to get the old building ready to be used for the first time. The full report appears in the photo above and reads…

“On October 8, 1987, several area artists met to plan and form a Pride sponsored Craft Store Co-Op. A building on the main street of Alton was acquired by agreeing to refurbish the interior for use of the building. This proved to be a bigger chore than first thought. Several layers of wallpaper had to be removed before painting could begin. Carpet was laid and displays set-up. All this took approximately 200 hours of work. On November 5 and 6, 20 artists brought a large variety of items to the store. A work schedule was made and each member assigned their work days. The Grand Opening was scheduled for November 7, 1987.

All proceeds from sales went to the artists. After expenses the artists realized a net profit of $2,150.30. The craft store provided more than income for the local artists, it also provided things for people to see and a place to go while in town.

The craft store was part of Pride’s downtown revitalization and economic development goal. It’s success can be measured by the fact that the store was once again open for the Memorial Day weekend and will be open on the 1 of November and remain open through December.  Several new area artists have inquired about becoming members of the Co-Op and a larger store has been discussed. Area people are already asking when is the craft store opening?

A radio interview was done with the Phillipsburg radio station KKAN, and the Hays Daily News did a story on the store for their Sunday paper.”

Here’s another ‘how many’ for you; how many amazing artists did it take to create what we know today as The Craft Basket? The answer is, as

Christmas shopping in Alton Kansas

The Craft Basket Alton, Kansas 1987

the report above says, 20. It took just 20 artists to create such a unique holiday shopping experience that it is still attracting shoppers 30 years after it began.

Come in and help us celebrate our 30th anniversary on opening day Saturday, November 4th, 2017 at 9am,  have a sweet treat, enjoy viewing all the wonderful handcrafted gifts, and maybe even take a few of them home for your holiday celebrations.

See you there!

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Craftin’ Country Pride Since 1987

Wow! Can you believe that summer is coming to an end already?! The kids are back in school and all those fun fall sports have begun. Soon enough we will be digging out the sweaters and boots and that good old Kansas snow will be blowing through Osborne County. Alton will, soon enough, be decked out with holiday cheer and The Craft Basket will be open once again.

This fall marks the 30th anniversary of The Craft Basket; that’s amazing! Can you imagine that something started by just a few area artists 3 decades ago is still going strong. That says a lot about this little town; Alton definitely has plenty of pride.

To help kick things off we ended the summer with a big bang as part of the annual Alton, Kansas Jubilee. Our part of the Jubilee was to set up a display in the community room with the theme of Craftin’ Country Pride Since 1987; easy enough for our little group that’s the same room we set up shop in every holiday season! Oh we were not the only ones there. That room was filled with all kinds of displays from antique dolls and handmade quilts to Beatles memorabilia and some very colorful ties! And of course all those well deserved Pride awards were proudly displayed.

If you live anywhere near Alton you really should get there next August for the Jubilee. It’s well worth the drive! The day kicks off with a parade and ends with a performance by the Bull City Opry Co followed by a street dance. In between there’s a money dig and Power Wheels derby for the kids, vendors in the park [I highly recommend the funnel cakes!], there’s mud volleyball, human foosball, a garden tractor pull, car and bike show, music in the park, cake contest, pie contest, a food stand by the fire department, face painting, a BBQ supper… Oh, and don’t forget the softball tournament that weekend too!

Now that the summer fun is over for this year it’s time for us to start working on those handcrafted Christmas gifts that you are going to need for your holidays this year.

See you in November!