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by Lydia Krupinski

Tis the season for holidays, food, family and friends. As some people prep for the fellowship, reflections, and feastings of Thanksgiving, others around the country are already salivating at the midnight shopping promises of big box stores and retail chains. While the term Small Business Saturday may not be as catchy as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the first Saturday after Thanksgiving has been designated as such to encourage consumers to support the vendors in their own communities.

In the spirit of this week’s holiday and the upcoming shopping stampedes Sprout Chicago would like to highlight a group that’s launching a special campaign to remind Chicagoans to spend their dollars locally this holiday season. Urban Folk Circuit is a group dedicated to supporting and growing the handmade craft and music community in the city. Started in July of 2010, the team unites artisans from around Chicagoland in monthly traveling craft shows that highlight the diverse talents and skills of handmade business owners.

Sprout Chicago caught up with Kelli and Jess, super-crafter extroadinaires and founders of Urban Folk Circuit, to pick their brains about crafting in the city and their latest campaign: Shop Chicago for the Holidays.

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by Lydia Krupinski

I’m going to come right out and say it: There’s nothing better than handmade for the holidays. Sure you can go out and buy the newest mp3 player or another equally calculatedly obsolescent piece of technology. But there’s simply no greater gift than that made by you or a creative crafter.

In case you don’t have the time or talent to conceive your own project, we’ve  put together the following list of upcoming holiday fairs that showcase handmade and local artisans and their wares. Please feel free to add more through the comments box below!

+Loyola University Alternative Gift Fair

December 2nd & 3rd, 2009 Loyola University Chicago

+One of a Kind Show & Sale

December 3rd-6th, 2009 Merchandise Mart

+Old Town School Holiday Craft Bazaar

December 4th, 2009 River East Arts Center

+Clever Crafter + Pierogi Picnic

December 5th, 2009 Lenny & Me

+Renegade Holiday Craft Fair

December 5th, 2009 Pulaski Park Fieldhouse

+WomanCraft Studio Sale

December 11th & 12st, 2009, WomanCraft Studios

+Bucktown Holiday Art Show

December 12th & 13th, 2009 Holstein Fieldhouse

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by Lydia Krupinski

As promised Sprout is bringing you the very best in conscientious consumer tips for the upcoming holiday season. One such suggestion is shopping local as much as possible! There’s no better way to cut your carbon footprint then buying directly from the maker.

megan lee designsOne way to tap local artisans is the DIY Trunk Show on Saturday November 21st. Since 2003 this unique collection of artists and entrepreneurs has been bringing their handmade goods to Chicagoans.

Swing by next weekend and pick up some fresh goodies from Edgewater Soaps, beautiful screenprinted dresses from Megan Lee Designs, or handcrafted modern kitchen ware from Circa Ceramics.

What: DIY Trunk Show

When: Saturday November 21st 10am-5pm

Where: Pulaski Fieldhouse 1419 W. Blackhawk Chicago IL

If you’ll be stopping by, make sure to bring a reusable  shopping bag.  And don’t forget to come by my Pierogi Picnic booth to say hello!

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