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GBHS students to hold annual fair Saturday
new deh gbhs craft fair pic
Ryan Jacobs, Future Business Leaders of America club vice president, anchors a yard sign for the upcoming Panther Paw Craft Festival. The craft show will be from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Great Bend High School Panther Activity Center. - photo by COURTESY PHOTO

Just in time to kick off the Christmas shopping season!
The sixth-annual Panther Paw Craft Festival is set for 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at the Great Bend High School Panther Athletic Center. The craft show will feature 67 vendors filling 82 booth spaces. It is sponsored the Future Business Leaders of America club.
There is a one dollar admission fee, but children 12 and younger are free.
“We have lots of new items from last year,” said Cody Lee, club sponsor. “One thing that makes our show unique is that we have never had the same exact vendors every year. We have new people come in every year. However, we still have many of the same ones who were with us from the very first year.”
Vendors from across the state will be selling things like purses, jewelry of all kinds, crafts, dishes, candles, scarves, clothing and skin-care products. Men will be able to shop for hunting knives, flashlights, kitchen cutlery, tools and wood crafts. There are also lots of things for children, babies and animals.
Other items include baked goods, seasonal décor, key chains, towels, packaged dip mixes and desserts, body art, floral arrangements, photography, kitchen utensils and pans, costuming, hats, cigar boxes, alphabet art, decorative crosses, stockings, potholders, plaques to display sports cards and/or photos and NASCAR die-cast cars.
“The first year we had this show, we had 12 vendors in our commons area,” Lee said. “The show has grown tremendously and has almost been overwhelming with the responses we get every year.
“This year we have quite a lengthy waiting list for vendors who have called and tried to get in. We met our max almost two weeks prior to our actual registration deadline. Vendors need to register early. In fact, we may have to limit businesses in the future and make this a juried show.”
The fund raiser is organized and run by FBLA club members.
“It takes a joint effort from all members of FBLA to pull this event off,” she said noting the club has 131 members. “Some are more active than others.”
Lee said each of the FBLA officers deserve some special recognition for making this event a success. They include Dylan Dreiling, president; Ryan A. Jacobs, vice-president; Haley Deines, marketing manager; Sara McAfee, secretary, Amber Kasselman, historian; and Donna Craven, parliamentarian.
“We have about seven different committees that members can be a part of in the organization side of the event,” Lee said. “Our FBLA officers chair those committees and they do a great job.
“We also have ambassadors who have done a great job communicating with our members about upcoming FBLA meetings and events,” she said. “Our ambassadors are Sara Niederee, Colton Lagerman and Bryce Divis. Last year, Ryan A. Jacobs created a means for vendors to register online. That has been a wonderful improvement this last year. It has really made it much easier for vendors to register.
 “The students learn very many skills,” she said. “They learn what it is like to plan a large event like this.”
Unlike many other fundraisers, students work on this project all year long, she said.
 “They learn marketing skills, customer service skills and leadership skills,” she said. “Some students are even inspired by our vendors to be entrepreneurs. It also teaches them how to work in committees. They break up and delegate responsibilities among their committees in order to better manage the organization of the show.”
Money raised by the show will help support students in state and national competitions. And with more than half of the members eager to compete, the funds are important.
“It is act as a community service project,” Lee said. “We have found that the community has grown to expect this show every year. We have had many comments from the community of how wonderful it has been to see the growth of the show.”