AZLE — Azle High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America chapter turned Azle High School into a veritable fairground for its first-ever craft and vendor fair fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 21.
FCCLA is a national, state and local career and technical student organization aimed toward addressing community needs and promoting personal growth through leadership development. FCCLA allows students to learn about, compete in and begin career pathways in human services, hospitality, education, visual arts and design.
With over 120 vendors, half a dozen food trucks, and lots of hard work, FCCLA members and leadership were thrilled with the turnout at the vendor fair. AHS’s FCCLA advisor Natasha Deramee has been planning the event since July and was excited to let the community know more about the organization and the students in it.
“This is the first one we’ve ever done and we’re on a learning curve,” Deramee said. “The kids, it gets them out of their shell a bit, they’re speaking to people. In the FCCLA I’ve seen kids go from the shyest, quietest little freshmen to being so confident when they’re a senior. We love the organization, and we want the town to know about it. Plus, they’re fundraising not only for their chapter, but for their letter jackets and cords for graduation. We hope we may be able to donate to some of the causes they want to support.”
Hannah Beck is the vice president of records for FCCLA Region II and has been promoting the event and her organization to anyone who’d listen for the last few months. Beck sees the fair as an excellent partnership between local businesses, the school and FCCLA, all for the betterment of the community.
“It’s a really good fundraiser not only for us, but for (the vendors) as well,” Beck said. “They’re able to get their name out and we’re able to benefit from their registration fees, having that go toward our chapter and then also our community. FCCLA is all about the community, so being able to give back to them and them being able to give back to us is just the perfect pair. I think this is just such an incredible opportunity. It’s just a way for people to speak out and get everything out to the surface and out to the community. I think that’s a wonderful thing and I’m so excited this turned out the way we wanted it to.”
Wherever you went around Azle High School on the day of the fair, excited FCCLA participants and volunteers were happy to assist attendees with directions and any questions about their organization.
“It’s going really great,” Annika Birkeland said. Birkeland serves as president of both the AHS chapter of FCCLA and the school’s Students Advocating for a Viable Environment or SAVE chapter. “Look how many people there are, it’s amazing. It’s our first time running this, so it’s really incredible that we’re able to do this in just one year.”
Deaf Blonde Designs, Stinger Laser Works, Wreath Designs by Nancy and Selbor Printing were just a few of the 120+ vendors in attendance. Local businesses, entrepreneurs and hobbyists of all kinds were represented at the booths scattered throughout the school’s indoor gym and common areas. Azle ISD representatives were also present with a booth about the upcoming bond election and faith-based organizations like Revive United Methodist Church presented information and passed out sweets. AHS students and clubs also dressed up and participated in the fair by hosting small trunk-or-treat tables inside the building. The AHS American Sign Language club offered free face painting for children. SAVE members gave away origami birds, the student council gave away candy and parents could have their kids photographed with festive seasonal backdrops.
“I’m just happy the whole community has come out around this,” Birkeland said. “It’s our first year doing this and it’s super exciting that it’s been so successful.”