A place to call home: Holiday Lights Gift & Craft Fair to benefit Lambs Farm
Now in its 38th year, the Lambs Farm Holiday Lights Gift & Craft Fair is an annual opportunity to get some holiday shopping done while helping to support a good cause.
Organized by Tower Show Productions, the event is one of the largest craft fairs in the Chicago region.
The show features hundreds of vendors on three floors at Arlington International Racecourse, selling items ranging from candy to jewelry to crafts to clothing and more.
Lambs Farm will have a booth of its own at the fair, with delicious items made on the organization's Libertyville campus, including the Famous Butter Cookies, chocolates, preserves and more. In addition, a portion of each admission goes to Lambs Farm.
The show runs 1 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 29; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the racecourse, 2920 W. Euclid Ave., Arlington Heights.
Admission is $8 per person, and on-site parking is $7 per vehicle.
For information and a coupon for $1 off on admission, visit www.lambsfarm.org/event/lambs-farm-holiday-lights-gift-craft-fair.
For a list of exhibitors scheduled for this year's event, visit www.holidaylightslambsfarm.com/exhibit.asp.
We contacted Marisa Rademaker, communications coordinator for Lambs Farm, for some more information.
Q. Can you give us a general overview of what Lambs Farm does?
A. Lambs Farm serves more than 225 adults with developmental disabilities. To our residents, Lambs Farm is a home and a place they are proud to share with our visitors. To our visitors, Lambs Farm is also a place to grow through enriching experiences with people with developmental disabilities while creating lasting connections with their families and ours.
Q. How long has Lambs Farm been active? How was it founded?
A. Lambs Farm was founded in 1961 and started as a Pet Shop in Chicago on State Street by two teachers, Bob Therese and Corrine Owen. They realized people with developmental disabilities could do a lot more than what they were given credit for at the time and hired 12 people to work in their store. By 1965, they had 20 employees and knew it was time to expand. They received a donation from W. Clement Stone and moved to a former dairy farm in Libertyville. Since then, we have continued to grow. The 50-acre site now contains the Dogwood Garden & Pet Center, Farmyard, Sugar Maple Country Store, Cedar Chest Thrift Shop and Magnolia Cafe & Bakery. There are nine houses on campus, apartment buildings and an intermediate care facility for retired participants. Some participants live in the community and others live with family and commute to the Farm.
Q. How does Lambs Farm help people and the community?
A. Lambs Farm helps people connect with the human spirit in us all. Every participant is helped by Lambs Farm. They can live a life they never thought was possible and can continue to grow, learn and be independent.
Q. What's the Holiday Lights Gift and Craft Fair usually like? What can guests expect to find?
A. The Holiday Lights Gift and Craft Fair is always a great time. With all the vendors, it's a true winter wonderland and Santa's workshop built into one place. They can find all kinds of gifts for everyone on their shopping list. At the Lambs Farm booth, they can find our baked goods that are made with a mission. We sell all of our holiday catalog products, some Thrift Shop items and Dogwood Garden & Pet Center merchandise.
Q. How many people attended last year?
A. According to Toni Spalding of Tower Show Productions, about 13,500 over four days.
Q. Where does most of Lambs Farm's funding come from? What are your largest fundraisers?
A. The state funds basic needs for participants. We raise money for other programs through a variety of special events each year. Our main events include a Fun & Fit Family Day 5K Run/Walk in June, a Golf Day in July, an Annual Benefit (Harvesting the Spirit Downtown on the Farm) in November, Bunny Brunches/Breakfast with Santa, and so much more.
Q. How can people who can't make it out to the fair help Lambs Farm?
A. If they can't make it to the craft show, they can support Lambs Farm by donating online, purchasing gifts from our holiday catalog (all products are made by the men and women of Lambs Farm), visiting the Farm or volunteering with us. The men and women of Lambs Farm are so thankful for all supporters.