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Craft Fair And Holiday Markets Hawk Handmade Local Gifts

Craftfairdetroit

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/03/11 09:05 AM ET Updated: 12/03/11 11:04 AM ET

With the bevy of art shows, craft fairs and holiday markets crowding midtown and downtown Detroit this weekend, if you can't check everything off your holiday shopping list, you're not trying.

Noel Night, midtown's annual festivity now in its 39th year, always includes plenty of shopping opportunities in addition to cultural events. This year is no different, with many independent stores staying open late on Saturday night and offering music, food and deals.

In the last several years, a variety of campaigns, like Pure Michigan, Independent We Stand and Small Business Saturday, have aimed to teach consumers about the benefits of buying from independent, locally-owned businesses, and that increased awareness has led to more dollars spent in local businesses. And so far this year, Americans are spending more money on holiday shopping in general.

This year, many Detroit holiday markets focus on handmade work and products from local businesses. A particularly unique blend of commerce, art, sustainability and community comes to the Detroit Urban Craft Fair (DUCF).

"In our second year we started to see a lot of 'supporting Michigan' things," said Lish Dorset, one of the founders of DUCF.

DUCF was founded in 2006 by five friends: Dorset, Carey Gustafson, Amy Cronkite, Bethany Nixon and Stephanie Duimstra. They wanted to create a space for crafters to come together and sell handmade goods.

What started as a small group of friends has turned into an event with over 80 vendors, chosen from several hundred applications. Most come from Michigan, with a few who make their way from the East Coast.

"We found that people were dying to buy products like this," Dorset said.

Now in its sixth year, the fair will run from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the Masonic Temple, providing an alternative for holiday shoppers looking for something other than mass-produced gifts. DUCF is geared toward a range of holiday shoppers, and organizers make sure they have items that would appeal to anyone.

"I ask, would my boyfriend love to stop by?" Dorset said. "People know that they're going to find something for everyone on their list."

DUCF isn't the only place to find work hand-made by Michiganders this weekend. Here's a handy guide to the bounty of local-focused shopping opportunities:

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fisher Building: Reigniting Retail featuring goods by Michigan businesses

2 - 9 p.m. at Wayne State University: Michigan Artists Youtique featuring the work of 40 Michigan artists and WSU Jazz Combos

5 - 9 p.m. at the College for Creative Studies: Alumni and Student Art Sale

5 - 9:30 p.m. at Detroit Artist's Market: Art for the Holiday show and sale with performance by jazz guitarist Steve Jarosz

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