'Tis the season for holiday craft shows, and one of the most popular events, attracting more than 4,000 people annually, is happening next Saturday (Dec. 5) at Hilliard Davidson High School.

'Tis the season for holiday craft shows, and one of the most popular events, attracting more than 4,000 people annually, is happening next Saturday (Dec. 5) at Hilliard Davidson High School.

The 27th annual Hilliard Hollyfest Arts and Crafts Show will take place from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the high school's gym and field house. The juried show features 118 vendors selling homemade crafts; a Santa Paws photo opportunity for your pet; entertainment from the Hilliard Senior Center's Happiness Singers and the Hilliard Davidson Madrigals; and concessions from the Hilliard Athletic Boosters. Admission is $2, or $1 for senior citizens and students.

Holiday craft shows are now starting in the weekends before Thanksgiving and go on into December. Usually held in schools and churches, the shows serve as fundraisers. Hollyfest is no exception, with a portion of its proceeds going to the Hollyfest Scholarship Foundation to provide money for scholarship to graduating seniors from Hilliard schools.

"That foundation provides $21,000 annually," said Libby Gierach, President & CEO of the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce, which puts on Hollyfest. "Darby and Davidson each get an $8,000 scholarship. That's one student per building, and that's payable over four years to $2,000 a year; as well as we give a one-time award of $2,000 for a student from each school. And then we give a $1,000 scholarship to a student from Hilliard schools attending Tolles Career and Technical Center.

"So that's been the tradition for a while, and then when Bradley comes on (with its first senior class), we hope to be doing the same award scholarships to that school."

Unlike some craft shows, Hollyfest is juried, which means a panel decides which of the 160 show applicants will set up shop. By July 1, vendors' applications and photos of their wares are submitted, and are judged based on quality and variety of mediums. Gierach said they don't want too many vendors selling too much of a single category of craft, such as floral, wood, clothing, or jewelry. Alternate vendors are chosen as well, in case of cancellations.

Although one vendor hails from Georgia, and a few are from Indiana and the Dayton area, most are from central Ohio, including former Hilliard resident Sherry Harman.

"It's my favorite show bar none - if they could all be like that one, it would be wonderful," said Harman, who now lives in Westerville.

Harman, who has been making and selling holiday floral wreaths, baskets and trees for 25 years, has sold her crafts at up to 12 shows a season. However, the Hollyfest keeps her coming back.

"The one thing that's so nice about Hollyfest is that they've got it down to a T. It runs so smoothly every year," Harman said.

Harman produces her "Bent Tree Creations" out of her basement "and practically every other room in my house. It's kind of overrun during the holidays. I look like I have my own warehouse within my house."

She rents a truck to haul her crafts, including her most popular item, Ohio State-themed trees, to Davidson's gym. Since the gym is used for basketball, Harman has to set up at 6 a.m. Saturday morning.

"It's a real race in the morning," Harman said. "I'm tired by the time the doors open! That for me is the only drawback."

Harman said it costs her about $360 to rent a 10' x 20' aisle space with electric hookup.

"It's one of the higher-priced shows to get into, but it's a very elite show I certainly make my return on it many times over."

Gierach said the Hollyfest can use additional volunteers. If interested, contact the Hilliard Area Chamber of Commerce at (614) 876-7666.