Since Sea Girt Elementary School opened its doors in the early 1970’s the PTO has held a Craft Market-like fundraiser. In 1973, then PTO President Mrs. Pat Holt, requested suggestions for a big fall fundraiser. Mrs. Dianne McKnight and the late Mrs. Jane Marriott suggested and then ran the Sea Girt School’s Antique Show for 12 years. The Antique Show was exactly like The Craft Market today except the spaces were rented to people to market their antiques. The Antique Show also had a kitchen and the parents provided delicious homemade quiches, soups, salad dressing and desserts which were sold as part of the fundraising effort.
The PTO’s last Antique Show was held in 1984. In 1985, the late, Mrs. Mary Price, Manasquan High School head football coach, Jay Price’s, Mom, suggested that the PTO transition to a Craft Market. The members were nervous that a craft market would be “cheesy”, where the Antique Show was very reputable. It was decided then that only quality crafters would be invited to attend. This would be a high-end craft show with a fabulous parent-run kitchen.
Mrs. Price, Mrs. Janet Otto, and our school’s own, Mrs. Susan Keffer, were instrumental in getting those first few Craft Markets going and making it the success it has become. It is, by far, the PTO’s largest fundraiser and is dependent on the full support of the school staff, faculty, parents, and students.
Except for our fantastic, popular and successful gift basket auction, which was added to the Craft Market in recent years , the Craft Market is run pretty much the same as it was in the late 1980’s. Only quality crafters are invited and the parents, despite limits in their time, supply the kitchen and bake booths with yummy quiches, soups and treats….so everybody needs to get cooking, baking, simmering, etc.
While it may seem like a lot of work, and it is, keep in mind that the Craft Market is a fun, festive beginning to the holiday season that has become part of the Sea Girt School tradition. People come back year after year with their friends and family for this unique shopping experience. Volunteer to sit at the hospitality desk and you will see that, whether it’s the smell of the kettle corn cooking or the beautiful holiday displays, everybody coming in is happy, smiling and having a good time. It’s tradition!