For two days, Valencia High School’s gym was transformed into a holiday shopping wonderland, packed with vendors and customers during the Viking Foundation’s Fall Boutique on Saturday and Sunday.
Over 85 vendors set up shop in Valencia’s gym selling a wide variety of items including barbecue, clothing, holiday decorations and handmade crafts. The proceeds generated by the Viking Foundation will help cover school costs left by budget deficits, specifically campus renovation.
“We want to give our students the best possible learning opportunity on this campus,” said Susan Griffith,Viking Foundation fundraising chair. “It’s a luxury and it’ll take a few years but we want to upgrade the budget we receive to help the school.”
Griffith said she handpicked the 45 returning and 40 new vendors over six months, relying on either word of mouth or researching through Facebook. She said that the event grew from last year to maximize the available space in the gym, but did not have the space to expand further in the future.
Over the two days, Griffith estimated that the boutique raised about $8,000 for the school.
Jack and Linnea Allen, owners of crochet craft company Hooks & Chains, discovered the event at a previous boutique and were put on a waitlist. They were able to set up a booth on Sunday to sell their crochet animals after another vendor completely sold out of stock the day before.
“Everyone was very friendly and we recouped our costs so it’s definitely an event we’d be interested in attending again,” Jack said. “Smaller boutiques are a way for vendors and artisans to see if their crafts are something that the public likes. They offer so much more variety than a mall, which are all pretty much the same. Events like this allow you to find more niche products and in many cases to talk to the person who made that item.”
Mike Campbell, co-owner of 4 Day Woodworx, was a returning vendor and also attended both days of this year’s event, selling custom made wood American flags.
“This year’s event seemed to have more custom craft vendors, and the people I’ve talked to this weekend seemed to enjoy that,” Campbell said. “We got a lot of interest over the weekend from the community since there are so many veterans, law enforcement and fire department members out here. As a boutique vendor, you’re selling your interests and it’s a fun way to have conversations with people you wouldn’t normally meet.”
Stephanie Burkhart, who had never been to a boutique event before, stopped by with her son after work to support one of her friends who was a vendor.
“There’s nothing like a homemade gift, and there are a lot of homemade gifts here,” Burkhart said. “It just means a little more if you give something that’s handmade, like you’re giving from the heart.”