The Crafty Ladies are back at it again for the 43rd year in a row. What started as a small quilting group has grown into a large Craft Bazaar held every year at the First Methodist Church. This years' bazaar will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the First United Methodist Church Activities Center, on the corner of Lover and College St.

The entire gym will be filled with the fruits of their labor and all proceeds go to the church for projects that are needed, but don't fit in the budget. They have repaired bathrooms, built a youth space in the attic, helped asphalt the driveway, and many other projects throughout the years. This year they repaired some stained glass and recovered the choir chairs.

“Fellowship and service is why we do this,” Marie Hickman, one of the crafty ladies said.

This is a mission, the church under direction of Rev. Jason Smith has many ways they are involved in helping the community, citizenship classes, a food pantry and more.

“There are a lot of things the Methodist church does,” Hickman said.

The Crafty Ladies embark on this huge mission every year in November, but the crafting starts in February. All of these projects are made by women with big hearts, and Frank Roupe, 90, who does all of their carpentry. Both Hickman and group director Roylinn Ormand spoke highly of Roupe and how valuable his cutouts and woodwork are to the bazaar.

“We have a lot of fun doing this,” Hickman said.

“We have fun with what we do, I am amazed at what is donated to us that saves us from having to buy so many things,” said Roylinn Ormand, the group's director.

“We do this as our way of giving back to the church,” Ormand said. She also emphasized that this group helps ladies who may not be able to do the heavy lifting anymore, but still want to contribute, be a huge part of giving back to the church.”

Without the crafty ladies, many projects that may not have been accomplished, are able to happen. Some of the husbands get involved as well in helping take care of the set up and other miscellaneous tasks.

Wooden reindeer, trees, wreaths, nativities and quilts are just part of what the bazaar offers. This year they are making it seasonal, there will be many crafts from various seasons and holidays, that can be enjoyed throughout the year.

Hickman said you do not have to be a member of the church to be a Crafty Lady, as long as you understand all proceeds are donated back to the church. The ladies also appreciate the donated craft supplies that help them make even more crafts for such a good cause.

The Crafty Ladies will take a short break after the bazaar and start meeting at 9:30 a.m. every Thursday starting again on Feb. 13, 2020 in the Creative Arts building at FUMC Athens. Please go out and see the wide variety of items and witness the hard work and labor of love.

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