CLINTON — As the holidays inch nearer and temperatures begin to drop, craft fair season in central Maine began Sunday morning when dozens of students set up at Clinton Elementary School to sell handmade trinkets at the inaugural Clever Kids Business Expo.

More than 30 children were selling goodies ranging from metallic earrings and garden gnomes to wax melts and cake pops.

For Maddie Lovley, the expo was particularly special, however. Not only was she celebrating her ninth birthday Sunday morning, Lovley was also getting to see her idea of a kid-focused craft fair in Clinton come to life.

From behind an array of her colorful, hand-painted pet rocks, Lovley explained how the idea came to be.

“I draw and paint a lot, and I have friends who do, too,” she explained. “I was scrolling through TikTok with my mom, and we saw another town doing a kids craft fair, and I thought ‘We should do that too,'”

She and her mother, Kelsey, brought the idea to Clinton’s Parks and Recreation Association, who quickly began working to bring the expo to life.


The association’s president, April Paul, said the expo is the latest example of Clinton’s push to put on more events for children in the area.

“This is the time of year for craft fairs,” Paul said. “A kid-fueled craft fair isn’t something that you see all the time, so this is definitely special. They brought us the idea and we were like ‘Let’s make it happen.'”

Mid-morning, Paul said the event was proving to be a success, with turnout surpassing what organizers expected. At 10:30 a.m., she estimated that about 50 people had turned out to mosey through the booths, and that at least a hundred more were expected to arrive later in the day.

Lovley, who was selling pet rocks for $3 and her drawings for $4, said just before 11 a.m. that she had made just under a dozen sales, some to fellow students and youth crafters.

While many craft fairs take a cut from vendors’ proceeds or charge a fee for crafters to secure a table, Paul said the Clever Kids Business Expo would not make any profit for the Parks and Recreation Association itself.

“Everything that they sell today, (the kids) get the proceeds from it,” she said. “This event, we’re not making any money off it. It’s a matter of bringing the community together and showcasing local kids that have talents.”

“I saw a little girl at her table, she had just sold something and then she went and bought something from somebody else to spend her money she made,” Paul said.

The event was the first of its kind held in Clinton, and Paul said that she hoped to make the event either an annual or biannual one.

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