Skip to main content

Red Lion craft show isn't just for grandma

Holiday craft shows aren’t just for grandmothers. Just ask George Sanders.

Well, to be fair, this one started out that way. Kind of.

Years ago, Sanders’ mother was looking for ways to keep her own mother busy after a heart attack and battle with colon cancer.

They’d been going to craft shows, and grandma turned to Sanders’ mother and said “We can do this.”

Twenty-one years later, it’s safe to say they did.

Grandma’s Holiday Craft Show started back there with some friends in the living room of the house, Sanders said.

Ten years later, his mother said she couldn’t handle it by herself anymore, so Sanders and his wife, Danielle, thought they should do it at Red Lion Bed & Breakfast, which they own along with Red Brick Bakery & Tea Room. Sanders said he thought it would be a great way to promote the bed and breakfast during it’s quiet time -- November through January.

What was just a day is now five weekends long, as thousands of shoppers come each weekend to peruse through what 149 vendors have to offer.

The vendors are rather local, Sanders said, though a few come from Altoona or Maryland. Most live around Red Lion and the southeast side of York. There are many from Dover, West York, Shrewsbury, Lancaster and Harrisburg, as well.

And while craft shows may be something many think would only interest grandma, Sanders said they see a lot of younger people.

“It’s a good age range,” he said. “We see a lot of families coming together, spreading the idea of it with others.”

In all these years, Sanders said they have seen people who have come that long. Once coming with mom or grandmother, they now come with their own in tow.

Over the years, they’ve tried a lot of different things to get the word out, though most successful may still be word of mouth. They’ve transitioned to social media, which Sanders said is getting them a lot of visibility.

“We’re getting not only the traditional people who go, but social media helps us reach the younger people,” he noted.

Each Wednesday, the vendors restock so the shoppers have lots to choose from.

Most of the vendors are just area people who work and do crafts on the side, he said. Though it’s been fun over the years to see some of them transition into doing crafts full time.

“It’s fun to see that,” he said. “There’s a lot of talent here.”

And while at lot has changed, Sanders’ mother still helps.

“It takes an army,” he said. Something which he’s also passing down to his kids, ages 8 and 2.

Recently they helped collect pine cones, which were bagged up for sales. Each kid got a few bucks to spend on toys.

The annual craft show is part of their routine now, Sanders said of his children. They’d miss it if it wasn’t happening. And who knows, maybe several years from now, they’ll follow in their parents’ footsteps.

If you go

What: Grandma’s Holiday Craft Show

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Thursday, Dec. 3 through Sunday, Dec. 6

Where: Red Lion Bed & Breakfast, 101 S. Franklin St.

For more: Visit