Christmas at the Cabin, an annual two-month craft show held at a quaint cabin in Bainbridge, is hosting its 41st run this year.
The show began as a one-weekend event and has grown in popularity over the years. Between 30 and 50 local and nationwide vendors will have handmade items for sale that fill the cabin from the floor to the rafters.
The cabin, built about 85 years ago, has a storied history.
“Well, there’s something about the cabin, and people feel the love that’s in this cabin,” said Janny Brizius, 86, who hosts the event. “It just sort of exudes as they walk through the door, and they say, ‘Oh, my’ and they want to hear about how old the cabin is and ask me to tell the story of this cabin.”
The cabin was built by John Kinnison, who according to Brizius was 100 at the time, to allow a girl whose mother died three days after she was born to be able to visit the family who took care of her early on and her biological father at the same time.
The girl’s name was Marilyn, and her father was Brizius’ uncle, Henry Head. “My dear Uncle Henry was simply devastated with the love of his life gone, and here he was with this baby wondering what he was going to do,” said Brizius. “My mother and daddy went to the hospital and got her to bring her home to take care of her until Uncle Henry could get his head and household ready for her which he set about to do.”
After about nine months, Uncle Henry brought his sister, Louise, and his aunt, Margaret, to his home to help raise Marilyn, but by then she had grown accustomed to living with her aunt and uncle.
“Goodness knows they loved her as much as she loved them, but it was never their intent to keep Marilyn, and it was time for her to go home, and everybody knew that but Marilyn,” said Brizius. “It took a lot of doing to get her home, but she did go home and finally stayed all through the week with her real family in Hillsboro.”
Both families spent the weekends at Brizius’ parents’ home so they could all spend time with Marilyn.
“As much as they all loved each other, and God knows they did, that was a lot of togetherness,” said Brizius.
To alleviate the situation, Brizius’ father commissioned Kinnison to build the cabin to have a place that allowed Marilyn to see both families when she wanted.
Kinnison turned 100 during the construction of the cabin and did not just oversee it, but did much of the work.
At one point, Brizius recounted, Kinnison determined the cabin’s foundation was not square, and he demanded that it be redone. His request was met with skepticism. “He got out his notched stick and proved that it was not square and made them tear it out,” said Brizius.
“My mother baked him a cake in a washtub with 100 candles on it,” she said.
Brizius and Marilyn had a close relationship as children, and she described themselves as “compadres.”
“The mischief we didn’t get into and the adventures we didn’t have weren’t worth having,” she said. The two rode horses all around the 250 acres surrounding the cabin. “My aunt Louise would say to my mother, ‘You can’t let those girls loose in those woods because they’re going to get lost,’ and my mother would say, ‘Ah, the horses will bring them home.’”
“It’s a love story,” said Brizius describing the history of the cabin.
Brizius said she works to stock the show with reasonably priced quality work by skilled artisans. She said people will typically spend $20 to $30 when they visit, but she has, on few occasions, made sales for as much as $1,000.
“Last year I had this absolutely beautiful crocheted tablecloth, and I knew it would make the cabin look fabulous, so I put it on the table in the center of the room thinking it was going to be there for the whole show because it was so expensive, but it sold the first weekend for more than a hundred dollars,” she said.
She said the style of the crafts on display changes from year to year. “Crafts kind of follow a pattern, and you’ll see new things each year,” she said. “There’s a lot of kind of flashy and exciting decorations this year that the artisans are using, and it really brightens the cabin up and makes it look different.”
Some of the most popular items at the show are woodcraft objects, including large bears that can stand on a porch, fashioned by a crafter who has placed items at the show for the past 25 years.
“People know they are going to see something different here,” said Brizius.
Located at 7757 Cave Rd. near Bainbridge, the show began Oct. 15 and will continue until Dec. 12 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Sundays from 1-5 p.m. It will be open Thanksgiving from 4-9 p.m.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.