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Elks Lodge #49 holds first Harvest Craft Fair

October 18, 2010

by Jonah Slattery

The first Fall Harvest Craft Fair was held in the ballroom of the Elks Lodge on South Allen Street in Albany Sunday with roughly 25 vendors representing crafts and art ranging from hand made scarves and hemp jewelry to flameless candles and spices.

The Albany #49 Elks Lodge, which hosted the fund raising event, will use

College of Saint Rose student Cassandra Clark displays her artwork (Jonah Slattery)

the proceeds of a silent auction, a bake sale, and money generated from renting vendor booths to fund various national and local initiatives. Vendors came from as far away as Adams, Massachusetts and Queensbury, to as local as just down the street from the Lodge itself.

“The craft fair is a good opportunity to get my creativity out there,” said Cassandra Clark, a student from The College of Saint Rose. She sold her hand made paintings, hemp necklaces and dog leashes, and bracelets made from bottle can tabs. “I’m a starving artist and I’ve been going to fairs for two years – I make a lot of money on hemp at music festivals.” Clark also works as a tattoo artist to help pay off her student loans.

At a nearby table, a Delaware Avenue resident sold scarves for $15 each.. “So far I’ve spent $25 on the table and I’ve sold two scarves so I’ve already paid for the table and made a $5 profit,” said scarf maker Joan Gaylord.

“This is my first craft fair. Normally I make scarves as gifts,” she said. “You’ve got to do what you can, you know?”

The craft fair was a little slow, many of the vendors admitted, which was probably a result of a lack of advertising, said Herb Carle, exalted ruler of Elks Club #49.

“We went down to the Times Union,” Carle said, “And we were told we’d have an ad in the Sunday paper, but there wasn’t anything.”

Clark’s Hemp necklaces which are all hand made (Jonah Slattery)

Still, the Elks garnered support.

“We’ve got gift cards from Price Chopper and Jonathan’s pizza and Mama’s Express and a lot of baked goods donations as well,” Carle said. “The community has really stepped up this year with great gift cards and donations for our silent auction.”

Carle described how the proceeds of the fund raising event would be used for various charitable initiatives.

“We’ve got the third to eighth grade essay contest throughout Albany grade schools that gives a $50 bond to the winner in each grade – and nationally the award is $1,000.”

The 27 local Lodges also share a $19,000 ice cream machine that they use each weekend to give ice cream to the veterans at the Veterans Administration hospital, said Lawrence Currier, past exalted ruler and esteemed leading knight. “And I’ve got to say, I don’t know what brand of ice cream it is, but it’s the best ice cream I’ve ever had.”

Elks secretary Ray LaRose said the Elks Lodge wanted to get away from its unjust

Clark’s can tab bracelets an original artistic piece (Jonah Slattery)

reputation as a bawdy institution where all the members did was get together and drink.

“As long as there is a veteran, the Benevolent Order of the Elks will not forget them,” LaRose said. “The Elks are heavily involved in youth programs, community initiatives, and veterans affairs.”

Locally, the Elks Club spearheaded donations of Powerpro razors to the Albany VA hospital to be used by the nurses who shave long term patients. The Elks also offer a Horrigan scholarship that provides about $7,500 a year to eligible students; they host an annual blood drive in memory of fallen firefighters and police officers, and they hold Bingo Tuesday nights and have weekly game nights at the hospital.

Lawrence Currier, Herb Carle, and Kevin Foley (Jonah Slattery)

“We want people to know what we do for the community,” LaRose said. “What you see here is the tip of the iceberg.”

In early October the Elks sponsored the Stand Down to help clothe and feed needy vets and offer medical and psychological evaluations, Currier said.

“We need to show people Elks care, Elks share” LaRose added. -30-

More information on the Elks Lodge #49 initiatives and fundraising events can be found on their website:


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