BENSON — A vendor and craft fair hosted by the Community Food Pantry of Benson drew a steady crowd on Saturday.

Organized as a fundraiser for the pantry in support of its services to those in need, Saturday’s Vendor & Craft Extravaganza marked the nonprofit organization’s final fundraiser for 2021.

“We hold four fundraisers a year, and two of those are craft fairs,” said Nahayyah Many Horses, food pantry board president.

Attendees were entertained with live music by the Dave Owens band in addition to native flute player Danny Many Horses, Najayyah’s husband.

“I’m here in support of the pantry and the good things the organization does for our community,” said Dan Barrera, a Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Cooperative board member. “This is a great location, the event is very family-oriented, and they have the Dave Owens band here, which is a big draw. There are plenty of vendors with a variety of items to help kick off holiday shopping.”

Sierra Vista resident Joe McDermott was selling Scentsy products out of his booth.

“I’ve been selling Scentsy for 13 years and participate in as many of these events as possible,” he said. “Both my wife (Bonnie) and I are Scentsy consultants.”

Dickey’s Barbecue was on hand, selling sandwiches and side dishes

“We had a good turnout, and most of the vendors that I spoke to seemed happy with the crowd size,” Many Horses said. “The Dave Owens Band played for two hours, and the crowd really enjoyed them. They sang all the popular country and classic rock songs that I like.”

Many Horses credited the San Pedro bridge work and subsequent road closure for some of the event’s foot traffic.

“I think the road closure was good for us because it routed more traffic past our event,” she said. “People could see the vendors from Fourth Street and they saw the crowd, so stopped to see what was going on.”

Carolyn Stevenson of Sierra Vista said she enjoys doing her holiday shopping at craft fairs because of the unique options they offer.

“I also like the idea that we’re helping to support a nonprofit like the food pantry,” she said. “I typically get started around October or November and look for special gifts that you can’t find at malls or big box stores. I like the outdoor venues and chatting with the artisans while out Christmas shopping.”

The Food Pantry, located at 2300 W. Calvary Lane in Benson, is housed on the Calvary Baptist Church campus. Food distributions are every Wednesday morning 9-11:30 a.m.

On Friday from 4-6 p.m., the pantry is hosting its first in a series of a three-part canning series. Classes are free and open to the public. Those interested in attending should visit www.bensonfoodpantry.org or call 520-200-5186 and leave a message.

As an all-volunteer nonprofit, the food pantry survives on its fundraisers and community donations.