Annual Olde Fashioned Christmas offers taste of past

When it comes to doing her part to get people more in the holiday spirit, Kathy Adams doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty.

“I do one show a year; it’s my hobby,” the Austintown woman said about highlighting her abilities with clay and other materials that are hallmarks of her artistic tools of the trade.

Adams, who works at Akron Children’s Hospital in Boardman, spent part of Saturday afternoon displaying her talents with wet clay and a few sharp tools as she crafted and carefully shaped a few snowmen to sell. Her efforts also were part of the annual Olde Fashioned Christmas at Lanterman’s Mill gathering in and next to the mill on Canfield Road.

Fourteen artisans and other vendors are the main attraction for the event, which continues from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the mill. Sponsoring the free, family-oriented and holiday-themed gathering is 21- WFMJ / WBCB-TV.

For Adams, who also studied for more than two years at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, the Olde Fashioned Christmas event truly is a family affair, because helping her sell hand-painted and glazed turtles, cats, cardinals and other items she made are her daughter, Sara Sinchak, and granddaughter, Nina Sinchak, 10.

“The ornaments are baked (in a kiln), hand-painted, glitzed and shellacked, and ribbons are tied,” said Sara, who added that she assists her mother mainly with the business and organizational aspects.

“I sold a lot of them,” an excited Nina said, referring to a variety of stenciled and cut-out tree ornaments she crafted, a few of which were shaped like Snoopy, a cardinal and Forky, a spork character from this year’s popular film “Toy Story 4.”

Attendees who are looking for Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers likely won’t return home disappointed or empty-handed. Merchandise for sale includes scented soap bowls, wooden kitchenware products, ornaments made from beeswax, fleece dog tug toys, picture frames, spool-and-bobbin night lights, pottery items and dog bandannas.

For the sentimental at heart, local artist and historian Bob Barko Jr. has for sale numerous prints of Idora Park and other iconic places that capture much of Youngstown’s history. In addition, selling his prints and notecards is C. Scott Lanz, a longtime nature photographer who in 2005 started his photography business, LanzScape Photography Ltd.

Each year, Lanz publishes and sells the Mill Creek MetroParks calendar. A portion of the proceeds benefits Fellow Riverside Gardens.

Providing a bit of a personal touch to the holiday season is Kathy Bowman of Austintown, who is a regular fixture at the Olde Fashioned Christmas festivities.

“I use a mallet on wet leather, then place and stamp a letter,” Bowman explained about her ability to design then personalize leather bracelets, many of which contain children’s names.

She also had on her table a few delicate and web-like dream-catcher items that are symbolic of many Native Americans’ beliefs about and interpretations of dreams.

“The good dreams go through the net, but the bad dreams get caught in the web and are destroyed in the morning by the morning light,” she said about the belief.

Many attendees Saturday also spent considerable time outside of the mill, where they were treated to chestnuts being roasted over an open fire, courtesy of Ray Novotny, a park volunteer and former naturalist. Also heating things up a bit in the 40-degree weather was Howard Mincone, a comedian and magician whose audience enjoyed a display of pantomimes, juggling and fire-eating acts.

Event organizers also are encouraging people to bring new hats, scarves and mittens that will be placed on a “giving tree” and distributed to children in need this winter. Monetary donations also are being accepted.

Providing the entertainment is “One String Short,” an acoustic group that performed several traditional Christmas carols.

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