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Paws and Claus Arts and Crafts Holiday Fair Nov. 25 and 26

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In what has become a holiday tradition in Hernando County, the Paws and Claus Holiday Art and Craft Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 25 and 26, at Silverthorn Country Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane, Spring Hill. As visitors shop for the perfect artsy holiday gifts and home decor items, they’ll be helping to provide better lives and forever homes for animals in need.

This yearly happening is a benefit and adoption event for local animal charities and rescue groups, featuring 50 local artisans offering unique and beautiful hand-crafted items. It is free and open to the public.

“This is the sixth year for this event, which supports animal rescue groups and charities in Hernando County. And now, we have a designation as a not-for-profit organization,” explained Betty Brown, Paws and Claus co-coordinator. “This will be an adoption event, where people can apply to adopt animals, and a forum for artists and craftspeople in this area.”

True to its name, the Paws and Claus Holiday Art and Craft Fair is strategically scheduled to accommodate shoppers during Black Friday weekend—the most popular time of the year for Yuletide shopping.

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“We’ll have nearly 50 vendors, inside and outside,” said Brown. “This is the perfect place to shop for the holidays. We’ll have paintings, jewelry, wreaths, holiday decorations, baskets, ornaments, etc. It’s quite diverse. All items are handcrafted.”

Some of the animal rescue organizations set to benefit from the Paws and Claus Holiday Art and Craft Fair include Paw Warriors, FurEver Friendz Inc., Kathi’s K-9s and Operation Kindness.

Paw Warriors provides a no-cage, no-kill sanctuary for feral and abandoned cats and kittens, as well as education and pet adoption services. FurEver Friendz, Inc. is a registered 501c3, non-profit, foster-based animal rescue organization helping unwanted and abused dogs find loving fur-ever homes. Kathi’s K9s, a 501c3 non-profit rescue, was founded in 2012 to meet the tremendous need for dog rescues in this community. This is a volunteer-operated rescue for dogs and cats in a home environment. Operation Kindness for Hernando County Animal Services, Inc. was formed by a small group of local animal advocates to enhance the quality of life, increase adoptions and educate the public on behalf of the animals at Hernando County Animal Services. Operation Kindness is a nonprofit organization providing financial and in-kind support to HCAS to enhance the care of all animals in placement.

“This is the second year Operation Kindness will be participating in Paws and Claus at Silverthorn,” said Abby Evert, president of Operation Kindness. “This is another wonderful event for both the vendors and animal rescue groups, given the continuing community support. We’re thrilled to be a part of this program again this year.”

The Paws and Claus Holiday Art and Craft Fair resulted from a collaboration involving Anne Kraus-Keenan, Betty Brown, Dennis Brown, and Linda Allen. The event holds special meaning for Brown, who is both an animal parent and a maker of fine jewelry.

“Now more than ever, people are abandoning animals by the side of the street and leaving them behind in empty houses,” she said. “We need to find them good homes. We need people to adopt these pets.”

Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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