LOCKPORT - The Kenan Arts Council's Holiday Gift Show next weekend will feature a wide range of gift items, from wreaths to handcrafted stuffed bears.
But this year it will offer something it hasn't presented before - raw honey.
Geri Hens of Lockport, who tends 1,500 bee colonies in 15 New York counties, will be offering four or five types of honey made by Niagara County bees who collect pollen from wild-growing plants and trees in the county.
Raw honey has not been pasteurized, and it's rated organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hens said.
"I'm a 30-year professional beekeeper," Hens said. "This is my first time as a vendor at the show, but I have a long relationship with the Kenan Center."
In the late 1970s, Hens received two scholarship to work at the Kenan Center, when she was in high school and again in college. More recently, she has sold honey at the center's Wine and Beer Fest in January.
"I got asked this year if I would consider coming over to the gift show," said Hens, who also intends to sell beeswax candles made by wax collected in her bee colonies.
Recruiting new vendors isn't all that common, although it does happen, said Jane Corser, co-chairwoman of the gift show, along with Manning McCandlish and Kathy Greenfield. Normally, prospective vendors approach the Arts Council, which chooses a jury to review their wares. This year, 12 newcomers faced the jury on May 21, and eight were selected for the show.
This year, there are 44 gift vendors and five food and wine vendors. The 50th available space was given to the Kenan Quilters Guild for their annual quilt raffle, Corser said.
Some of the new items at this year's show include totes and throws, made from drapery fabrics by Betty Kistner of Lockport and her sister Peggy Wopperer; leaf castings, made by Bonnie Finkbeiner of North Tonawanda; gifts created from vintage flatware by Carol DiMarco of Williamsville; and pottery by Sarah Cozzemara of Derby.
"We just keep mixing things up," Corser said. "It's forever changing."
Artisans who have been in the show don't have to face the jury every year, but the organizers reserve the right to make changes to ensure a more balanced mix of offerings.
"Just because you were there three years in a row doesn't mean you'll come back the fourth year," Corser said. "If we've got something brand new and interesting that we don't have - maybe we're low on potters, for example - maybe we'll say to a jeweler, 'You can be on the substitute list.' And they understand that."
Sometimes regulars don't apply again, creating openings.
Attendance has been steady for several years at about 2,000 people for the three-day show. "Even in the worst weather, they don't stay home," Corser said.
Familiar faces and features will be back at the 36th annual show, held in the Kenan House and adjacent buildings at 433 Locust St., Lockport.
Caroline Stoll's handmade bears, Shelly Andrews' floral creations and Dale Bosworth's jewelry will be back, along with the popular offerings from Black Willow Winery, All That Chocolate, Winslow's Choice Jams and Jellies and Naples Valley Brand Products, also known as "the mustard booth."
The Friends of the Kenan Herb Club will offer their herbal gifts, and the Kenan Arts Council will again fill the Goody Booth with baked goods. Lockport's Shamus Restaurant will offer soups and sandwiches in the Onstage Café in the Taylor Theater.
The show is on from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 20. Admission is $4.