Tricounty News

Community event is 25, and going strong

To test the business advice to “adapt or perish,” one needed go no further than the Watkins Elementary School this past Saturday.

The women of the Watkins Lioness hosted their annual craft and bake sale, their 25th annual. 

“It’s not like it used to be,” said Gloria Schmidt who’s been involved for the past 18 years. They’ve modernized, and added new vendors and products. “You can only use so many potholders,” she chuckled.

Dolores Faber has been coordinating the vendors for the craft sale for 22 of the past 25 years. She agrees that change has been necessary for the survival of the craft sale.


About 10 years ago they changed the date, from the Saturday after Thanskgiving to the Saturday before Halloween. 

This year, jeans were the big draw for young people. They’ve also added hand-crafted jewelry, greeting cards, décor items in addition to the tried-and-true clothing items, homemade jams and jellies, and so many other items.

Vendors come from around central Minnesota, and many are from the Watkins area.

The Watkins Lioness keep the cost low for vendors: only $15 to participate. Sales are slower than they’ve been in the past, with so many other places (especially online) to buy “stuff.” But vendors make new friends among themselves each year, and enjoy the day no matter what. The annual Watkins Lioness craft and bake sale is a place to shop from lots of local, hand-made items from local, caring artisans. If you’d like to be a vendor next year, call Dolores at (320) 764-2185.

The Lioness also serve up a tasty lunch during the sale: homemade soup and pulled turkey sandwiches, with a slice of homemade pie for dessert. “Our menu is the best around,” said Gloria. 

There are groups of community members, Dolores said, who make an outing of coming to the craft sale each year. They come, look around, don’t necessarily buy a lot, but they have lunch together; it’s their yearly tradition.

The money raised at the craft sale go into the Lioness fund. One of their annual expenditures is the $1 gift sale at Watkins’ Santa Day in the Village Hall. Area children come and can purchase Christmas gifts for others for just $1 apiece.

“We’re a service club,” both Gloria and Dolores said. “It’s worth our while,” Dolores added.


Dolores Faber (right) has been coordinating the Watkins Lioness craft sale for 22 years. She is attentive to vendors at every stage of the process, and everyone seems to love her. Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua.






The Watkins Lioness hosted their 25th annual craft and bake sale this past Saturday, Oct. 26, at the Watkins Elementary School. (This photo shows less than half the total vendors.) Staff photo by Jean Doran Matua