Crafters defend their role |

Crafters defend their role

Gift shop owners near the state line have a misperception about the craft fairs at Horizon Casino Resort, according to the event organizer.

“People are drawn to anything outside,” said Jeff Williams, of Williams Ltd. based in Reno. “That’s our business, primarily to draw attention to a particular area.”

“Personally, I think it’s good for the community too.”

Williams, who is working on Reno’s Hot August Nights this week, has organized fairs and festivals for 12 years, producing about 30 festivals a year in the Northern Nevada and Northern California region. Some are inside festivals, such as Christmas fairs, others are set up outside such as the Horizon location.

Responding to criticisms that the Horizon craft fairs don’t actually sell handmade crafts, Williams said his organization screens exhibitors carefully before giving them a space.

“We require five photos of the work (to be sold) from the exhibitors,” Williams said. “We keep the photographs to check (against what’s actually being sold).”

If exhibitors are not selling handmade crafts, he wants to hear about it.

An average of 80 exhibitors participate in the weekend Horizon craft fairs, with more setting up shop on holidays. They sell such items as jewelry, woodwork, soaps and stained glass.

About 25 percent of the exhibitors are residents of the area, Williams said, and part of the local community. The rest come from Northern California and Northern Nevada.

He considers Tahoe a great place for such festivals and the Horizon an ideal Tahoe location.

“It’s a tourist area. The more fun things there are to do (the better). Outdoor festivals are everywhere in the world in tourist areas, Williams said.

“Horizon is an ideal location because it has frontage (on the highway). The other casinos don’t have that. If they did, I’m sure they’d be having them too.”

This coming weekend, William’s organization will be taking a break from the Horizon. It will still be an active spot. A different organization will feature a car show in Horizon’s lot.

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