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Holiday fairs warm up the season

'Tis the season for sharing and shopping as three days of holiday artisan fairs took center stage at the Ashland Armory and at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's Great Hall Friday. The Siskiyou Woodcraft Guild is hosting its 30th annual "Harvest of Fine Woodworking" fair featuring nearly 20 area woodworkers, while the Lithia Artisan's Market Christmas Fair is in its ninth year.

Several thousand people are expected to visit the fairs this weekend, Lithia Artisan's Market manager Maria DiMaggio said.

"This is a chance to get to know the public and for them to see our work," said wood sculptor and teacher Russell Beebe.

Over the years, the Woodcraft Guild has displayed everything from boatbuilding to furniture and instrument making, said guild member and wood worker Tom Phillips.

"Putting this into perspective, the Guild has been connecting people to wood for more than 30 years," he said.

At the Ashland Armory, visitors enter through a maze of booths offering homemade shoes, dresses, perfumes, photography, pottery and even face painting for the children. More than 58 artists are on hand while local musicians perform on stage.

At the Christmas Fair, DiMaggio said the market "supports the arts and local economy. It makes sense."