Eclectic mix at Charles City Craft Show this weekend

By Kelly Terpstra,

Whatever Dan Bilharz of Nashua can dream up, he can almost certainly construct in his garage.

Beautiful wooden flowers made out of birch with thin and intricate barbed-wire stems are just some of Bilharz’s handiwork.

Bilharz owns D&P Crafts and his home-based business, along with some of his craftsmanship, will be on display for purchase this Saturday at the Charles City Craft Show.

“I make just about everything by hand,” said Bilharz, who has been coming to the craft show in Charles City for three years.

Bill Neal and his wife, Becky Neal, have helped organize the show in Charles City for the past 10 years. Bill said there will be about 40 tables this year at the show, which will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday in the cafeteria of Charles City High School. Neal said upwards of 500 people attended the event last year. There is no admission charge.

Neal said craft shows are different than antique shows or flea markets.

“We allow some flea market stuff in — antiques and that kind of stuff,” said Neal. “It’s more craft show – home-based business stuff.”

Vintage pieces, baked goods, primitives (decorative items, dishes, jewelry) and clothing are just some of the items likely to be available for purchase during the show. Crafted woodwork like rocking chairs, benches, barn wood chests and hutches are some other projects that vendors have logged in long hours to create.

“There’s a good mixture of things — which is good,” said Neal.

Homemade pies, salsas and jellies are a big hit and if that doesn’t take the cake, there’s always the lunch stand, which is put on by parents of band members at CCHS.

“Some people will come just to support the band,” Neal said, laughing.

Bilharz said he has two snowman 3½ feet high that are made out of pine. Their arms move up and down and they have boots made out of oak plywood. Bilharz also makes walnut candle holders. He said his granddaughter fell in love with the wooden roses he makes. He made 23 of them to set on the table for her graduation a few years back.

“I have sold tons of them,” said Bilharz.

Bilharz’s brother, Robert Bilharz, also sells bird feeders and birdhouses. Outside of wood crafts, there is an eclectic mix of vendors like Silkebana, Pampered Chef, Soaping Science, Tastefully Simple, La Petite Boutique, Dee and J Ceramic Shoppe, Scentsy and Perfectly Posh.

“It’s not the biggest one, but it’s a good sized one,” said Dan Bilharz. “Charles City — they got just about everything.”

What Dan likes most about the craft show is the people, he said.

“We just like to talk to people. Just come on up and take a visit,” said Dan. “We enjoy it. I wish it was two days instead of one.”