On Saturday, Nov. 20, White Oak Elementary hosted the 10th White Oak Craft Show.

The halls of the school were lined end to end with tables decked out with crafts, homemade goods and trinkets galore.

Unable to be held in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the craft show joined a host of other local events postponed for health concerns.

Originally scheduled to be held in the Spring after the winter wave of COVID died down, the event was pushed further back to its typical time slot, the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

While the number of participating vendors decreased slightly from 59 in 2019 to 39 in 2021, it was still a sign of a resurgence from the local economy.

This was clear especially to Heather Copeland, who is in her first year of organizing the fest.

“People are ready to get out and do things again,” Copeland said. “Hopefully we’ll do it bigger and better next year. As we get closer to the summer [of 2022] we’ll figure it out.”

Copeland takes over the helm from Chandra DeMorier, who led the event for most of its past iterations.

“This is my first year,” Copeland said. “I’ve helped before and loved it so I basically inherited it from Chandra.”

Among the goods sold at the fest were decorative wreaths, jewelry, baked goods, masks, perfumes, Christmas ornaments and even fossils.

Joy Gainey found a neat idea in bringing fossils from all over North Carolina and arranging them into a “dig” of sorts within a large metal container. Attendees could pay a small fee and dig for fossils among Gainey’s collection.

“It’s my first time. My kids and I brought these from all over North Carolina,” Gainey said.

Down an adjacent hallway, beneath the ongoing melodies of “White Christmas” and “Carol of the Bells” was Pop’s Woodturned Ornaments. Owned by Heather Copeland’s father, Paul, the booth offered beautiful displays of wood turned decor.

“I work for Regulator Marine full time but I do this as a hobby,” Paul Copeland said. “I’ve only been doing this a few years, I’m still somewhat a novice.”

The intricate handiwork, however, was a testament to his growing skill.

Amidst independent consultants, artists and craftsmen, there were also games held for the kids as well as a visit from Santa Claus himself.

Further into the building, there were snacks and refreshments offered in the cafeteria for families, as well as a silent auction. For this year’s fest, the silent auction contained a numerous array of baskets designed by White Oak students.

“The baskets were amazing,” Heather Copeland said. “Our silent auction baskets were made by students and the PTA. Each grade level had two except Pre-K, they had one.”

The baskets were arranged in a variety of ways, some included treats and snacks, others held small furnishings of home decor within, while one or two others had DVDs and items for a rainy day.

All of the proceeds, Heather Copeland said, go back to the schools for supplies. These supplies would benefit both students and teachers in an ongoing capacity.

“It ultimately comes back to help us at the school,” Heather Copeland said.

Tyler Newman can be reached via email at tnewman@apgenc.com.

Thadd White is Group Editor of the Bertie Ledger-Advance, Chowan Herald, Perquimans Weekly, The Enterprise & Eastern North Carolina Living. He can be reached via email at twhite@ncweeklies.com.