Helping Hands Art and Craft Fair 2022 Nets Second Largest Profit

Robert Barthell, Assistant Editor-in-Chief

The 2022 annual Helping Hands Art and Craft Fair ended on a triumphant note, delivering ample financial support for heaps of community businesses and giving many families something to stuff under their Christmas trees.

According to the event’s organizer, Spanish teacher Shelley Aaholm, the cumulative total of vendor fees, raffle, book sale, entrance fees and donations totaled $18,749.41the second highest figure recorded during the 14 years of this event’s operation.

An impressive 137 vendors came together this year to provide customers an endlessly long line of products to choose from.  Previously, the entrance was stationed at Door 4 with the line stretching in the cafeteria, but this was moved to Door 3 this year following the removal of the cafeteria doors.  As a result, the link hallway opened up 23 new spots for vendors.

Kay Procknow was standing in the line waiting for the fair to be open in the morning.  Procknow said: “My nephew’s wife works at Neenah High School, so we love seeing her every time. I’m coming with my sisters and my niece so that’s always a great party and the stuff here is amazing. My sisters are the big buyers, and I end up carrying all the stuff.  But it’s also very nice, and Christmas presents is probably the biggest draw.”

Aaholm, in a retrospective email sent to staff, mentioned various fellow staff members who played important roles in the configuration, decoration and assembly of the event’s props, publicity and hardware.  But she also stressed the critical role that student volunteers play in making everything work.

“We had a lot of volunteers for Friday and Saturday.  Vendors and community members are always so impressed by their smiles, kindness, helpfulness and help. I am so very proud of all of them that volunteer.  I never believe students actually get to hear that.”

Aaholm, however, was also quick to point out some troubles when it came to recruitment.

“This year, we had less students than we ever have had in the past, especially when they are most needed on Saturday afternoon.  After a 13.5 hour day, and I was climbing up and down an 8 foot ladder taking posters from the ceiling, I was really, really, really in need of more kids,” she said.