On Centre: Around Philipsburg | Mo Valley YMCA’s craft fair a holiday tradition

Christmas shopping season will be hitting Philipsburg a little early this year.

One of my favorite places to pick up presents isn’t a mall or a big-box store. It’s not an online purveyor. It’s not even a boutique-y small retailer. However, you absolutely can’t get any closer to the idea of “shop local.”

It’s the annual fall craft fair at the Moshannon Valley branch of the YMCA of Centre County, being held from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

The craft fair is more than just a few tables and a smattering of handcrafts. It is a one-stop shop for anything you might want for anyone on your Christmas list, all made by people who are doing something they love for the pure joy of the crafting.

Your mother would like a new wreath? Done. Your sister would like some unique jewelry? Covered. Your best friend loves candles? Pick me up a banana nut bread soy version in a Mason jar while you’re there.

No matter what it is, be it wood-working, beautiful painting, needlecraft or something else, there is a better than average chance you can find it at the fair. If it’s PlayStation 4 from scratch out of oak that you’re seeking, if it exists, this would be the place to look. (I’m sure Sony would have issues, though.) Failing that, you can probably find a nice hand-knit wool cozy for one if you ask the right lady with a crochet hook.

The fair has been making Christmas merrier in Philipsburg for more than a dozen years. It’s also a festive event in itself. You can wander through the booths, looking, touching and smelling. The scent of the candles and beauty products alone is worth the price of admission. Oh wait ... there is no admission.

The bake sale, however, is always a treat. Bring plenty of cash for the cupcakes and brownies, and more for the raffles.

Proceeds from the fair are one of the Mo Valley YMCA’s biggest fundraisers every year. It’s a great way to make money, with lots of fun, great food and a chance to get your stockings filled even before Black Friday.