HARMONY — It might not be the packed WeihnachtsMarkt of years past, but Artisan's Saturdays are bringing weeks of Christmas shopping to Harmony Borough.
And the shopping is prestigious, according to Jo Annette Cynkar, manager of the Historic Harmony Museum Shop.
“It's not a craft show,” Cynkar said. “These are ... artisans. (And) we want it to be exceptional gifts.”
Among the vendors who set up shop Saturday in the lot behind the Harmony Museum were Joyce Hewlett, of Cranberry Township, and Dan Senneway of McCandless.
A local ceramicist, Hewlett's wares include handmade dishes, bowls and sushi trays.
Like any form of art, Hewlett said hers is one that continuously evolves.
“This isn't something you learn overnight,” said Hewlett, who has been throwing pottery since college. “I don't think (many people) realize the time and effort it takes.”
Hewlett has a home studio and two garage kilns. She said she has attended the last several weeks of Artisan's Saturday.
In a normal year, Hewlett would spend this time of year attending festivals in the region. Since so many large events have been canceled because of the pandemic, she's happy to have a place to show her merchandise.
“The last three weeks have been good,” Hewlett said.
Senneway said Artisan's Saturdays have given him an opportunity to recoup some of the business he has lost because of Harmony's traditional WeihnachtsMarkt being canceled.
“I would normally be in that,” Senneway said.
Senneway's specialty is hand-drawn scene illustrations crafted virtually with Photoshop.
“A lot of them are local,” Senneway said, adding most of his inspiration comes from the greater- Pittsburgh area.
The Artisan's Saturdays is a good balance of safety and business, according to Senneway.
“This is a fine halfway point,” Senneway said. “It's what they can do, and I'm happy with that.”
Cynkar said Artisan's Saturdays so far have had about six vendors a week, with the registration fees helping to fund the Harmony Museum and the Harmony Business Association.
As the weeks progress, however, Cynkar's expecting to have 17 or 18 artisans attending.
“I think the public's still just willing to come out and support small towns,” Cynkar said.
“It's nice that they have something like this,” said Marjorie Mulvey, a Jackson Township resident.
Mulvey said she and her daughter, Mary Johnson, of Evans City, stopped by the artisan market Saturday to look around.
They also planned to get Oram's Donuts at Harmonie Laden while they were in town, according to Mulvey.
“The thought was really to get some business to our vendors,” Cynkar said. “But it was also to bring people to town on a weekly basis.”
Cynkar said through the pandemic, she's seen strong community collaboration.
For instance, the museum partnered with the Zelienople Historical Society to host the Hunt for History at the end of the summer.
For $20, participants could purchase a scavenger hunt booklet and search for historical sites. Those who completed it were entered into a raffle.
“It was very well received,” Cynkar said.
Cynkar hopes the collaboration will continue next year, even if the pandemic comes to an end.
Artisan's Saturdays will continue through Nov. 14. Visitors can see lists of vendors and parking directions on the Harmony Museum website. Cynkar said this information is updated from week to week.