Celebrating our 25th year, the Greenland Women’s Club Pie Festival and Craft Fair is a much anticipated annual event. However, it wasn’t always like this. Twenty-one years ago, a member suggested we bake pies to sell for Thanksgiving as a fundraiser. The idea was greeted with lukewarm reception at best; after all Thanksgiving is a pretty busy time of year… but it’s busy for everyone. So grew the seed of the thought of baking pies to simplify the lives of those busy folks; even if just a little. “Bake pies and they will come,” became the mantra, and so they did--continuing to line up at the door of Greenland Central School the Sunday before Thanksgiving each and every year.
The first year, GWC offered about 60 pies, all baked in members’ individual kitchens and sold from the old basement cafeteria of the school, long before building additions created a new gym, kitchen and cafeteria. Those 60 pies sold out within the first ½ hour! Over the next five years, pie production was standardized, and output increased production to 200 pies. With 200 pies to sell, how could the crowds be increased? Well, leave it to the energetic women of the Greenland Women’s Club to come up with more great ideas. A craft fair with 30 local participants--and not much advertising beyond the sandwich board in front of the school--brought the crowds necessary for visitors to return after stowing their pies in their vehicles. Use of the school cafeteria enables our membership to serve a delicious, homemade lighter fare luncheon and dessert…pie slices, of course. Pies, the addition of the cafe, craft fair, and a fabulous raffle made up of donations by the crafters, artisans, and generous gifts and gift certificates provided by local merchants and service providers, have kept the numbers growing each and every year…pies as well as visitors.
With two major renovations to the Greenland School over the last 15 years, our event has been able to grow to what it is today. We bake and freeze some pies during September and October, and begin baking the fresh pies on the Friday afternoon before the fair, going round-the-clock until all 550 pies are made! The café on fair day offers an unparalleled selection of homemade soups, quiches, luncheon items, and, of course, those delicious pieces of pie. Originally the pies drew folks to the event, now the crafters are just as much a major attraction, with the fair being billed as one of the best in the Seacoast. We'll update the 2015 list as the event in the upcoming months.
The Craft Fair committee, supported by the entire GWC membership, visit Fairs throughout New England, and have been diligent in their quest for new and quality crafters while continuing to keep a local home town flavor to the Craft Fair. The entire event is highly publicized through radio, print media, the internet, and social media sites. Signs announcing the event are posted from the borders of Maine to Massachusetts a week before the fair in yards, at businesses and along busy streets and highways. Flyers, and our now famous bookmarks with Fair details, are available at places of business. The efforts of the GWC membership have paid off nicely through the years. Since GWC began tracking visitors, attendance has doubled to over 2700 in 2010. The Craft Fair has grown to over 100 quality crafters since its humble beginnings.
Event-goers often remark about the diversity, quality and the wide price range of the craft items. No matter how small you or your pocketbook may be, the Greenland Pie Festival and Craft Fair has something for you. We do have limitations…SPACE; causing the Craft Fair committee to have to sadly say “no thank you” to so many talented crafters and artisans. Another positive comment from visitors is that the Fair has no manufactured items or products; all items are handmade by the crafter/artisan. The Craft Fair committee is always looking for the new, unique and unusual. Take a look at the exhibitors for 2014 on the website (www.GreenlandWomensClub.org) and peruse the widest selection of arts and crafts we have yet to assemble. We
Visitors to the Greenland Women’s Club Pie Festival and Craft Fair enjoy musical entertainment at various spots throughout the Fair. Come bring a pie home for Thanksgiving, holiday shop at our craft fair, have lunch in the cafeteria and go home with raffle prizes. If you are a crafter or artisan…come grow with us.
The event is the single largest fundraiser for the Greenland Women’s Club. Over the last 5 years our Club has donated over $54,000 to countless local, regional, national and international organizations.
Volunteers for pie making/baking time and for Fair day are always welcome. If you have given thought to joining the Greenland Women’s Club (no, you do not have to be a resident of Greenland), this is a great opportunity to join in the fun and determine for yourself if we are a good fit for you. Many great friendships have been born and continue to thrive due to association with the Greenland Federated Women’s Club.
Although space is limited, if you or someone you know not on our list of local artisans and crafters and has a handmade craft or art form, please email Donna at GFWCDonna@comcast.net. If we cannot accommodate you this year, there is always next year to look forward to.
Click HERE for an application.
SAVE THE DATE…Sunday, November 23, 2014. SPREAD THE WORD...
550 pies, lunch, craft fair, music and a gigantic raffle all under one roof.
Greenland Women's Club, GFWC
PO Box 151
Greenland, NH 03840