Jacinta Blodgett of Bowdoinham lowers her mask briefly Sunday to enjoy the scent of a brick of soap for sale at the craft and vendor fair at the Emerson & Lane American Legion Post 132 in Richmond. Blodgett said the product made by Fields of Dreams Handcrafted Soaps of Monmouth “even smelled good through the mask. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

RICHMOND — Jacinta Blodgett clutched her just-bought frog — made from used horseshoes — as she described the scents coming from handmade, natural soaps at Sunday’s craft and vendor fair at the Emerson & Lane American Legion Post 132 in Richmond.

“I couldn’t resist the smell of the soaps. They’re like roses, and you can smell them right through your mask,” said the Bowdoinham resident, who was shopping with her niece.

Scents strong enough they could be detected through masks were especially beneficial at Sunday’s show, where everyone was required to wear face protection due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

While also masked, David and Irene Marshall, who own Fields of Dreams Handcrafted Soaps of Monmouth, said it was probably OK for shoppers to pull down their mask quickly to truly check out the scented soaps.

Blodgett was happy with the handmade goods she found at the craft show, but said she would not have come in if things had not looked safe.

“I was very concerned there was going to be a lot of people, but I peeked in and saw that things were good,” she said. “It’s always concerning, but, at the same time, you can’t stay closed in your house forever. This was definitely worth coming. These are the things I love.”


Irene Marshall said if she and her husband did not think the show was safe and organizers had taken appropriate steps to keep people protected, they would not have attended.

David Marshall said leading up to the holidays, sales of Fields of Dreams soaps are a huge part of their annual sales. With many craft shows being canceled due to the pandemic, Marshall said his company’s sales are down this year. He said at a larger show, they might sell about $1,500 worth of soap in a weekend. At a smaller show, such as Richmond’s, sales would typically be a couple of hundred dollars.

The craft fair is an annual winter event put on by the auxiliary unit of the local American Legion.

Protective masks are required Sunday at the craft and vendor fair at the Emerson & Lane American Legion Post 132 in Richmond. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Michelle Colby, vice president of the auxiliary and organizer of the craft show, counted the number of people coming in and out of the legion hall at the door. She asked people to wait outside for someone to leave when the building was at its capacity — between vendors, volunteers and shoppers — of 50 people.

To preserve room for social distancing, this year’s fair included only 27 tables, versus 40 under “normal” circumstances.

Colby said a lack of space forced her to turn away about a dozen crafters who sought to be part of the show.


“I had people begging me to have the show,” Colby said. “I was like, ‘Yes, we’ll do it, as long as we don’t get a directive saying we can’t.’ We’re doing it in the safest way possible. Everyone has masks, we’ve got sanitizer available and tables are spread out for social distancing.”

Martin Neely of Lisbon Falls, who in his hobby and business, Horseshoe Creations, makes animals and characters out of old horseshoes from farriers, tools and other metal items using his welder, forge and tools, said he was also selling online, especially with many craft shows canceled. Shipping can be a challenge, however, because his creations are heavy.

Michelle Colby opens the door Sunday for guests to attend the craft and vendor fair at the Emerson & Lane American Legion Post 132 in Richmond. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Neely said he sold at outdoor shows this summer, with many people buying his items as gifts.

In its fourth year, Richmond’s annual craft and vendor fair is a fundraiser for the American legion, helping raise funds to sponsor a local family at Christmas and provide a scholarship.

Colby said this year’s fair drew more people than previous years despite — or perhaps because of — the pandemic. She said crafters and customers have been desperate to find shows.

Jessica and Michael Goodwin, owners of Goodwin’s Gifts207, make crafts she assembles in gift baskets, including potholders and scrubbies for washing dishes, and he has published his first novel, “The Liberty Key,” a paranormal suspense thriller. They said they are increasingly turning to online sales because there have been few crafts shows this year.


“We had to move a lot online this year because of COVID,” Jessica Goodwin said.

While many craft shows have been canceled, some are still planned, including one scheduled for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday at the Litchfield Sportsman’s Club, 2261 Hallowell Road.

An event page for that sale also notes attendees must wear masks and maintain social distancing.

Canceled shows include what would have been the 41st annual Thanksgiving Weekend Christmas in New England Craft Show, which was to have taken place Saturday at the Augusta Civic Center, what would have been the 30th annual Augusta Armory Veterans Christmas arts and crafts fair, planned for Nov. 14 at the Augusta State Armory, and a large show in Topsham that crafters at the Richmond show said was canceled Saturday.

Lee McManus of Topsham sold gnomes, cup koozies and other items she crocheted, at a table where her daughter sold photographs she has taken. McManus said they had planned to go to the big show in Topsham and found the Richmond show after learning the Topsham event had been canceled for this year.

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