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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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If you manage to get a head start on your taxes, and have the weekend of April 16th to get out of the house, then consider hitting up the urban-focused Green Metropolis Fair at the Irish Heritage Museum! This fest celebrating sustainability and city living will feature screenings of the films Dirt! The Movie and Vanishing of the Bees. In addition, a promising lineup of local vendors, including our pals Green Genes and Fair Earth, will be there promoting their goods and organizations.

It’s the perfect way to celebrate Earth Day and Chicago!

What: Green Metropolis Fair

When: Saturday, April 16th 10am-4pm

Where: 4626 N. Knox, Chicago

Cost: Free! But canned food donation recommended.

November is here! My birthday month arrives with a crisp chill in the air and my favorite holiday in the distance. November also marks the ‘official’ or maybe unofficial beginning of the holiday season. So to give you a head start on things happening in Chi Town this month, we’ve compiled some of our favorite suggestions for what to do with your schedule before it goes totally mad!

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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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Pierogi Picnic

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