Littleton's Craft and Home Improvement Fair on horizon

Western Welcome Week event is beacon of fun for late summer


As events sort themselves out as “happening” or “canceled,” the 92nd Western Welcome Week will still fill Main Street in downtown Littleton with the Craft and Home Improvement Fair on Saturday, Aug. 15.

WWW organizer Cindy Hathaway says there are some booth spaces available at this point, but many are filled. She is at the office in the historic Bemis House on Tuesdays, and there is online information.

Families can enjoy food as well as colorful artwork as they stroll — distanced from those ahead.

Among the vendors will be local craftsman Jake Miller, who lives in Ken Caryl, with his Two Ravens Soap Company, offering subtly shaded bars of handmade soaps, designed to appeal to men and women.

He has participated in the event for five or six years.

He “came out of the coffee business — also sensory-driven,” with detours through craft beers and Yankee Candles, arriving at this series of fragrant miniature artworks.

“I painted a ton in high school and college,” he says, and also studied business management and information systems, acquiring an entrepreneurial outlook. He started as a graphic design major at Michigan Tech on the Upper Peninsula and moved to this area about 10 years ago.

The Two Ravens business has been at the WWW show for five or six years, and Miller has a real-estate broker looking at spaces on Main Street for him. In the meantime, a shopper can find his products at Willow and at the Littleton Museum’s gift shop.

His craft beer experience relates to the use of beer in some soap formulas, resulting in a fragrance that appeals to a number of men, who might shy away from fancy soaps ordinarily. He visits a number of area breweries with craft shows and has his soaps for sale in their merchandise sections.

When we first tried to contact Miller, he was at a fair in Dillon, one of many on his schedule for summer and fall — and through the holiday season. He also visits area breweries with craft fair items — some of his soap formulas are made with beer and are included in the merchandise brewers includes among their wares ...

Miller mixes batches of soap in his garage on two or three days a week, starting with basic oils — olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter — and mixes them with sodium hydroxide and scents made from essential oils and some color and other ingredients … for instance, one variety is made with hummus, others with beers. Colorants and scents vary — sometimes a product can turn out to be a surprise. Ingredients could include turmeric, natural clays, indigo, spirulina — “with nourishing properties for the skin.”

The molds are large wooden boxes, lined with freezer paper. Each batch makes 66 bars of soap. The block of finished soap is cut into three long “loaves” then sliced into individual bars and packaged. Miller has a cutter made with guitar wire, sized to his needs. Designs appear on some bars, edges are irregular on others — all intentionally crafted.

When one looks at the photos of those soaps, one can almost smell the various fragrances.

The annual Western Welcome Week Craft and Home Improvement Fair is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 15 on downtown Littleton’s Main Street, following a week of events. Watch for more details as the dates draw closer.

Enjoy walking through this traditional fair — and tuck a shopping bag in your pocket before leaving home!


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