WATERVILLE — The annual REM Craft Fair showcased 50 Maine vendors and drew hundreds of visitors over the weekend, according to organizers.

Revitalizing the Energy in ME, or REM, is a non-profit organization that supports community projects in Waterville and the surrounding area. For roughly a decade, the group has put together the craft fair, held this year on Saturday and Sunday at Champions Fitness Club in Elm Plaza.

REM member and lead fair organizer Sheila Bacon said roughly 900 people attended the craft fair on Saturday. She was unsure as of midday Sunday how many people had joined for the second and final day of the event.

Faye Nicholson, REM’s co-executive director, said the goal of the fair is to “support and bring the arts into our community.”

“We love being able to bring that to our community,” Nicholson added.

Both Nicholson and Bacon said planning for the fair is a year-long process.

“A lot of work does go into this,” said Bacon, giving credit to the entire committee involved in the event. “It’s more than one person.”

Nicholson estimated that 70 to 75 volunteers help during the planning and at the actual fair, which she said is one of the group’s largest events throughout the year.

“My husband’s been baking bread for six weeks,” she said with a chuckle.

Bacon emphasized that each crafter featured at the fair is selling Maine-made goods.

“This is strictly a craft show — they’re all items made in Maine,” she said, adding that organizers are always looking to add new vendors with unique and creative items.

Products on display this year included hand-crafted pottery, fudge, yarn cats, pancake syrup, jewelry, photographs, sea glass gifts, clothing and much more.

“There’s a lot of work that goes into the layout,” Bacon added, stressing the importance of spacing out similar vendors in different parts of the setup.

While there were multiple crafters at the REM fair selling jewelry, jams or art, only Chuck Oakes had ultraviolet fishing lures.

Oakes, of Orrington, said he started Dragonfly, an ultraviolet fishing tackle business, seven years ago after identifying a “niche in the market” for spinning lures that shine various colors of ultraviolet light in hopes of attracting fish.

“We started out just giving them to kids at yard sales,” said Oakes.

He and business partner Marcia Shaw, of Bangor, make the light-emitting fishing tackle themselves and now sell them at 15-20 craft fairs each year. Oakes says those fairs are set around the state, “all the way from Presque Isle to Wells.”

“This has grown into quite a demand,” he said about their product. “It’s pretty, and it works.”

Chuck Oakes of Dragonfly Ultraviolet Fishing Tackle, speaks with a customer behind a board of lures Sunday during the REM Craft Fair in Waterville.

In the next aisle over, photographers and sisters Jacklyn Amtower and Shelley Lance-Fulk exhibited some of their wildlife shots from around the world.

“We travel between four and six months all around the world for our photos.” said Amtower.

The sisters live in Greenville, have written two books together and showcase their work craft fairs around the state.

“We start in April and end in December — every weekend,” Lance-Fulk said.

After three years at the helm of fair planning, Bacon is ready to step back from the lead role — but it won’t be the end for the REM Craft Fair.

Bacon said she is turning the responsibility over to Amy Harrington, of Fairfield, next year. Harrington, a crafter herself who participates in the REM fair, said she is involved with organizing several other fairs and sells her crafts in about 12 each year. She makes baby gift sets, memory boards and other crafts first inspired by her own family.

“I have four kids, and that’s where it’s come from,” Harrington said. “Taking that, and turning it into a business.”

She’s not looking to reinvent the wheel with next year’s fair, but does see room for growth.

“I think we’re just going to add to it — make it grow,” Harrington said. “I’ve had a few people that have already told me that they want to jump on board.”

She sees the potential for more than 50 crafters next year.

“I think we can push it to 70,” Harrington said. “We’ll aim high.”

Matt Junker — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @mattjunker

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