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Elf Shelf craft sale in Troy celebrates 50th anniversary

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The Elf Shelf craft sale will feature a variety of goods for sale such as jewelry, soaps, lotions, food products, toys, wooden bowls, paintings, Christmas decor and bird houses.

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TROY — The Troy Women’s Association is inviting the public to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their Elf Shelf program.

A special commemoration will take place at the association’s meeting at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, Oct. 4, at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, located at 3670 John R Road in Troy.

“It’s Oct. 4, we’re having a meeting where city officials will come and celebrate the 50th anniversary of Elf Shelf, which is on Nov. 26,” explained Joella Jarchow, a member of the Troy Women’s Association. “The meeting (on Oct. 4) will feature several local dignitaries such as the mayor present to help us mark the occasion. … (Elf Shelf) is a craft show that we invite 200 crafters to. They set up their displays and they sell their wares. We usually have about 2,000 people coming.”

Elf Shelf is free to attend, although donations are welcome. Most of the funds come from those who purchase a space at the event so they can sell their crafts.

“It is held annually the Saturday after Thanksgiving,” said Jarchow. “Usually we raise about $22,000. People buy their space for $120 for an 8-by-10-foot area and we also raise money at the cafeteria. Anything people sell at the show, they get to keep the profits.”

The event is chaired by Nancie Munselle and Carol Hartson, who are both trying to get the word out about Elf Shelf to anyone who hasn’t heard of it before.

“We have 200 booths, a variety of crafters, and they are all unique. Any donations made goes to help someone in the local community, especially programs that help women in need,” said Hartson. “It’s always fun to see what the crafters make. We get new crafters that come every year and others have been taking part for 20 years.”

All the funds raised are given back to organizations that operate in the Troy area.

“We donate to many organizations in the area,” said Jarchow. “This includes raising money for the Boys & Girls Club, Baby Basics — which helps underprivileged working parents, and we do adopt a family if there are local families who lost their home to a fire or something similar. We also support Backpack Meals for Kids at Morris Elementary and toy donations some years, as well. Bound Together is a tutoring program in Pontiac and we donate to them. We also ask Troy Schools and see if there are any local projects we can support at one school each year.”

“The money that we earn is given back to charities,” added Hartson. “It’s a fun event. You get to meet all of the crafters and it really connects you with the Troy community. I’ve been doing it for 10 years now and I love coming back for it.”

Those who wish to attend can arrive without reservations or fees. Elf Shelf will last from 9 am to 4 pm and will also take place at the Boys & Girls Club of Troy. Those interested in selling crafts as part of Elf Shelf can still join.

“There are still spaces left. They can go to troywomensassociation.org,” said Jarchow. “The sign-up for Elf Shelf is right on the front page. They can also contact us directly by emailing [email protected] The products have to be handcrafted, but otherwise we accept a wide range of items to be sold.”

She added that she has seen such creativity from local crafters in the years since she began taking part in Elf Shelf.

“There are many crafts sold,” remarked Jarchow. “This includes jewelry, soaps, lotions, food products, toys, wooden bowls, paintings, Christmas decor, bird houses and so much more. You never know what people are going to bring. Some local authors even show up and sell their books.”

Jarchow hopes Troy area residents will come out and enjoy a great opportunity to find some great gems in time for the holidays and support local crafters.

“It’s an opportunity to support small businesses,” she said. “The products are of good value and people get some good value for their money. There’s a wealth of things to choose from.”

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