Christmas comes early in Bladen County

By: Chrysta Carroll - Bladen Journal

ELIZABETHTOWN — Bladen County residents have been busy crafting, if what was seen at the Cooperative Extension Office was any indication.

On Friday, the Office was the site of Christmas in July, a bazaar and lunch hosted by the Extension staff.

“Things went really well,” said Christmas in July event planner Linda Rivenbark. “We had a great day.”

Dozens of vendors were set up in the gathering room at the Cooperative Extension, with gifts ranging from crocheted or knitted washcloths, wooden cutting boards, dog-shaped potholders, and Christmas pillows to necklaces and earrings, hand-stitched pocketbooks, unique baskets, and fuzzy body loofahs. Multi-tier companies like Plexus and Young Living had representatives there as well, telling guests about the benefits their products.

In its twelfth year, the event has been attended by two vendors since its inception. Pat Smith, otherwise known as The Gourd Lady, and Betty Tatum, both seamstresses, have been found at the event for the last twelve years.

“They’ve been very supportive,” Rivenbark remarked.

For at least one of the two ladies, the event is more than just a chance to sell some goods.

“Some years are better than others,” Tatum stated, “but it’s always nice to come, because it gives you a chance to get together with other people and fellowship. We have a good time.”

Charlotte resident Beatrice Lavine, in Bladen County on an extended July 4 holiday, stopped by the Extension Office on her way out of town Friday.

“Some of the most talented craft people can be found in small, rural parts of the state,” she opined. “I thought I’d stop by before I go home, and check things out.”

She and her daughter each picked up some Christmas hand towels, saying it’s never too early to start getting ready for the big holiday.

“Christmas has just gotten so big, I have to shop all year,” daughter Amy said. “I do a lot of shopping in stores and online as it gets closer to Christmas and the stores are offering great deals, but I love to shop all year for craft items like these. These are the kinds of things that people love, because you can’t find them in a store.”

After shopping, guests dined on a salad lunch of fruit salad, vegetable salad, chicken salad with bread, and won ton salad.

Proceeds from vendor applications and the lunch sale fund two college scholarships for Bladen County students.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing

Chrysta Carroll

Bladen Journal