When you think of Black Friday long lines at malls and box stores come to mind but for the past 11 years the Montana Art Festival has encouraged people to shop local during the holiday rush.
From jewelry, to wood carvings, and of course free samples, today was the kick off of the Montana Arts Festival and it drew in a different Black Friday crowd.
“I think it’s important to have events on box store days, like Black Friday, because it helps remind us that our neighbors and our friends have businesses and we have to support them,” art festival shopper, Mandy Wickel said.
Wickel said she comes to this Black Friday craft fair every year because for her craft fair have a special place in her heart.
"When I was younger my mom did craft shows to pay for our Christmas so now I love be able to give back and help others pay for their families," Wickel said.
According to the American Independent Business Alliance, when you shop local 48% of that revenue goes back into the community. That is more than three times as much as chain retailers who only recirculate about 14% of their revenue.
That’s why the organizers of this craft fair kick off their event on Black Friday
"it’s a nice alternative to the rushing of the big box stores,” Festival Organizer Matt Holms said, “there is plenty of space to move, you get to talk with the local artist, find out exactly how they made the piece, and it’s all just high quality beautiful artwork.”
It’s also a good reminder of where your money goes.
“The best way to support a family is to come and shop local,” Wickel said.
The Montana Arts Festival is open until Sunday December first.