Carleton Craft Fair and Custodial Scholarship Bake Sale to return to Weitz Center

All proceeds from the event are donated to the Carleton Custodial Scholarship Fund.

Josey MacDonald '25 28 November 2022 Posted In:
The Weitz Commons, filled with tables carring crafts and food. Photo taken from above, from the balcony.

After a two year hiatus due to the pandemic, Carleton’s Craft Fair and Custodial Scholarship Bake Sale is set to return to the Weitz Center on Friday, Dec. 2 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The annual event showcases the homemade crafts and baked goods of Carleton faculty and staff as well as Northfield community members and local vendors. All proceeds—including sales and vendor entrance fees—support the Carleton Custodial Scholarship Fund.

The Custodial Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 by custodians Pat Flynn and Julie Stoeckel. Flynn, who worked at the college from 1984 until she retired in 2005, noticed that some students were having a hard time meeting certain costs. Flynn talked with the Business Office and, with the help of other custodians donating part of their paychecks, established the Custodial Scholarship Fund.

The scholarship has grown substantially since its first year, when Flynn made more than 15 pounds of caramel candy to raise money for the fund. More than 75% of the custodial staff currently donate a portion of their paychecks to the fund, which helps pay for books, music lessons, health insurance premiums and other cost barriers a student recipient may have. The fund has benefitted one student every year since its inception and even benefited Flynn’s own granddaughter, who was born after Flynn established the fund.

Loretta Springer and Pat Flynn pose for the camera, smiling.
Loretta Springer and Pat Flynn

The craft fair portion of the event—which pre-dates the scholarship—was started in 1982 by Loretta Springer, who was Carleton’s duplicating coordinator in Print Services until her retirement this year. Springer started the craft fair as a way to showcase and sell homemade items from Carleton staff. Now combined with the bake sale and benefitting the scholarship, the tradition continues to serve as a fun and festive demonstration of the wide range of hobbies and crafts the Northfield community has to offer while also contributing to an important cause. In 2011, the vendor fees from the craft fair were also added to the fund.

Melissa Thomas, operations coordinator for the Center for Community and Civic Engagement, is just one member of campus who helps keep the event running.

“We’ve got people from admissions, facilities, the music office, auxiliary services… It’s an all-campus effort,” she said. “Faculty and staff sell their items at the event, and some even contribute to the scholarship fund separately as well.”

This year, the event will feature more than 40 vendors selling a diverse array of items—jewelry, birdhouses, rugs, Christmas trees, knitted items, candles, caramels, cookies and more.

“The baked goods are well worth making the trip,” Thomas said with a laugh, noting that the caramels are “totally amazing.”

Although the event is still rebuilding after the pandemic prevented its occurrence in 2020 and 2021, Thomas said they are feeling confident about bringing it back.

“People are vaccinated and getting back to full activity,” she said. “It’s going to be a little bit smaller but still in the same spirit.”