By Ashley Rader
As the Christmas shopping season draws nearer, shoppers looking for one-of-a-kind Christmas presents should visit the Ten Thousand Villages Festival Sale at First Presbyterian Church in Elizabethton this weekend.
The sale features unique, handcrafted items from around the world, such as wooden items, woven items, carved items, ceramics, jewelry, scarves and other accessories, holiday decorations and children’s toys.
The Ten Thousand Villages sale has been held at First Presbyterian Church since the early 1990s. Church member and sale organizer Kathe Crossley said the sale was brought to the church by the Peacemaking Committee as a way to help promote peace and unity in the world. The church provides a location and workers for the sale but does not receive any proceeds from the sale.
“Our church is very much into peacemaking efforts,” Crossley said. “We care about human rights around the world. This sale helps provide funding for education and food in third-world communities around the world. There are times when we wish we could contribute to solve a problem, but we can’t get involved with everything. This is just one more way we are trying to help.”
The Ten Thousand Villages sale was initially started in the 1940s by a Mennonite couple on a mission trip to Central America. Crossley said the couple noticed all of the quality craft items that did not have buyers because of their limited marketplace.
The couple started Ten Thousand Villages as a way to showcase the items and provide them to a larger customer base. Through Ten Thousand Villages, artisans in smaller, third-world communities enter a contract to produce goods that are sold to Ten Thousand Villages. The artisans are given half of their proceeds when the contract is signed, and the other half when the items are shipped.
“The crafters earn a fair price for their goods which allows them to earn the capital to pay for their food, clothing, shelter, education and to further their business,” Crossley said.
Items in the sale come from countries in Central America, South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Crossley said the items that are sold are of good quality and make unique gifts for the holidays.
“It is a fun sale, and all the items are wonderful,” she said.
The sale will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, and from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11. Cash, credit cards and checks are accepted. The church is located at 119 W. F. St.