"It's City Hall like you've never seen it before," said Director of Cultural Affairs Gerri Fallo. "It becomes one big marketplace."
Forty-two artists and craftspeople will display their creations on 65 tables for shoppers and browsers to see a spectrum of gift ideas, with both artistic and practical values.
"I buy stuff here all the time," said Fallo. "It's bad because I have to be here to make sure everything is going all right, and that gives me lots of time to look around."
Fallo herself has bought a veritable cornucopia of crafts over the years. A silk scarf, Hoboken Eddie Sauce, rusted metal figurines of a praying mantis and a frog made of recycled metal, a clock made from a vintage coffee pot, a ceramic clock made to order, and a holiday wreath made of metal, to name a few.
"I always buy a bunch of stuff. I buy gifts here. Candles make great gifts, and I always buy jewelry," Fallo said. "Over the years, I've probably bought from everyone here." The Holiday Crafts Fair is one of three events where shoppers can browse for crafts in Hoboken. The other two are the spring and fall Arts and Music Festivals.
"It's like a condensed version of the street fair, kind of like what's on the street but smaller," said Hoboken resident Megan Avery of M. Avery Designs. "It's very 'holidays.' It has Christmas music, and it's cozy."
Avery will be selling funky clutch bags, wristlets, wine totes, diaper bags, yoga matt totes and everyday handbags.
The show is juried for balance, limiting the number of each kind of item being sold, to reduce competition for the vendors and offer a spectrum of choices for shoppers.
"It's exciting because it's all handmade," said Yolanda Kwan of Weekawken. "At other shows, people sell pre-made stuff. You get lots of traffic. People come from everywhere."
The vendors come from far and wide as well, although the event has a decidedly Hoboken flavor.
Maureen White of Jersey City Heights makes folk art out of ceramics and wood, cutting the objects herself and painting them with acrylics. Many of her pieces are models of Hoboken restaurants and street scenes.
"They can be functional or non-functional," said White. "Functional would be hooks or clocks, but there are also three-dimensional pieces that are non-functional. Some people like it for the art, and some people won't buy something unless it's functional."