BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — The 37th annual Bismarck Big One Christmas Craft Fair has come to town, and it brings with it some of the midwest’s most creative minds in an all-purpose holiday shopping expo.

The biggest and most famous example of the Big One craft fair takes place in Minot, but over the span of the fair’s history, it’s branched out into other locations all across North Dakota — with extra showings across the state opening up as its popularity grows. The Bismarck Christmas Show is the most recent of these, only celebrating its 13th anniversary this year as opposed to the 30+ years of every other event.

On Friday and Saturday, November 18-19, over 250 exhibitors gathered at the Bismarck Event Center to showcase wares of all sorts — from woodworking, handicraft, and knitting to selling homemade treats and toys. A few of our favorite booths included photographs printed on glass, sculptures made of fine metal and recycled items, and freeze-dried delights of all sorts from local farmers.

“Everybody that’s in our show is either making their items, or they’re the author of the books they’re selling, or they’re embellishing their items,” explains The Big One’s show owner and promoter Lisa Frank, “and it’s important to me to support those small businesses in our communities.”

For small business owners themselves, events like this are a major selling point that can help get their work and message out to the world. Suanna Kallis, a photogprapher who prints her pictures on glass, was inspired by the aurora and night to take hup her hobby after her childhood on a farm, and sees The Big One as a great way to share her photography — as well as find other businesses and unique item.

“It’s a great opportunity for us small artists to get noticed,” says Kallis, “and just to see what all is out there and available that you might not see in bigger stores.”

All in all, we really enjoyed our visit to The Big One, and would highly recommend visiting the next visitations or some of the local businesses to help you find the perfect holiday gift.

This year’s Big Ones may have wrapped up, but there are still opportunities to participate in the craft fair on the horizon. The next event is the Spring Fair, taking place in Minot on April 14th-15th at the ND State Fairgrounds.

For more information on the Big One Craft Fair, visit their website here.