Avondale resident Lisa Sierra (left) with her daughter. Sierra, who makes hand-knit hats and headbands, launched an online craft fair with holiday markets canceled due to the pandemic. Keighty Noreen, who makes cards and art under the moniker Paper Everyday (right), is one of the vendors. Credit: Provided

AVONDALE — An Avondale maker has launched an online craft fair that mimics the experience of a traditional market so local makers don’t miss out on holiday sales and shoppers can still get handmade gifts.

The online fair comes as similar fairs and events, typically held in person, have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Craft fairs, in general, offer a unique opportunity for people to create wonderful things but don’t have the time, capacity or interest to actually run a shop,” said Lisa Sierra, who makes hand-knit hats, headbands and other items under the moniker Woven Dove.

“This is a chance for shoppers to buy unique gifts that are meaningful in the purchasing and the giving, and support people in their endeavors.”

The craft fair is set for Friday-Sunday. All shoppers have to do is pull up the Facebook group to shop. Instead of booths, makers will have their own albums shoppers can peruse.

All 20 of the participating vendors, selling everything from clay jewelry to novelty soaps based on TV shows, live in Avondale or the surrounding communities.

Sierra said she was inspired by an online craft fair in Vancouver. She threw out the idea for an Avondale-specific event in a neighborhood Facebook group, expecting only a few people to respond. But the comments kept pouring in.

“The response was honestly overwhelmingly positive,” she said.

“I was really hoping for 10, and I ended up instead needing to narrow it down from how many people have reached out.”

The experience has been so positive that Sierra already knows she wants to host another craft fair next year. She said next year she’ll start planning earlier so she can include more makers.

By day, Sierra handles social media for a Canada-based company called Lil Helper. She and her family are new to Avondale; they’ve only lived in the neighborhood since September. The craft fair has allowed her to get to know her neighbors at a time when gatherings are restricted due to the pandemic, she said.

“It’s been really fun,” she said. “So many of the ways you would normally meet people aren’t happening right now, so it’s been a way for me to meet a lot of really awesome people.”

Anyone who joins the Facebook group before Friday will be entered to win $50 to spend at any of the craft fair booths.

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Logan Square, Humboldt Park & Avondale reporterrnrnmina@blockclubchi.orgnnLogan Square, Humboldt Park & Avondale reporterrnrnmina@blockclubchi.org Twitter @mina_bloom_