Finding gifts for even that hard-to-shop-for family member might not be as daunting at the annual Christmas Made in the South.
There are more than 220 artists from California to New York, and many from the surrounding areas, said the show’s director, Russ Hunt.
“We cater to local artists and craftsmen,” Hunt said. “They do really well here, and we’re proud of that.”
The show at the James Brown Arena runs through 5 p.m. Sunday.
This year, Christmas Made in the South will visit eight cities, starting in Savannah., and ending in Charleston, S.C. This is the 25th year it has visited Augusta, and vendors are already seeing higher sales.
Brent Ragen of In the Potter’s Hand out of Bristle, Tenn., brings his house-fired pottery to the Augusta show every year.
“I do well at this event,” he said. “Friday was the best day I’ve had here.”
Ragen and his two brothers travel to about 40 shows a year selling their pieces, mostly in the Southeast.
“We had record breaking attendance in Macon,” Hunt said. “And Friday’s sales were up here.”
Hunt’s favorite part of the show is recognizing people he used to see as a child. Now those people are bringing their ownchildren. Hunt has been involved with Made in the South Shows since his mother started it in a church in Charlotte 31 years ago.
She got a bunch of friends together for a one day show and it was so popular, she decided to expand. Augusta was the first city she expanded to.
“Augusta is a really special town for us,” said Hunt.
Thomas J. Brown of Tom Brown’s Wooden Rocking Horses out of Columbia S.C., has also been coming to Augusta for years to sell his custom-made rocking horses.
“I make horses that are friendly to children,” he said. “Most are too big or too small. Mine are designed specifically for a one-year-old, but strong enough for dad to ride it too.”
Brown said his horses are indestructible – save for being set on fire.
Booths were sprinkled with jewelry made out of sterling silver flatware to hand blown glass table center pieces. There are homemade jams, tons of one-of-a-kind Christmas ornaments and even Harry Potter themed figurines made of rope.
Morgan and Ben Tallman, from Martinez, said they came to find something for their new baby cousins.
“There is so much to see though,” said Morgan Tallman. “I’m pretty sure we will end up getting other people gifts as well.”
Tamika Jones, from North Augusta, was searching for a wreath for her front door.
“It makes it so much nicer when you know someone made it by hand,” she said. “Even if I have no artistic talent, I’m happy to support those that do.”