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Fair trade hitting Black Friday

Market hopes to give alternate choice on big shopping day

Black Friday. Depending on your perspective, it's either a glorious way to start the holiday shopping season or a reason to stay home with the doors locked and barricaded.

For the second year running, local fair trade advocates are offering a way for those who do whip out their wallets to steer clear of malls and big boxes and find unique items.

The second Fair Trade Market will be held on Friday, Nov. 26, and Saturday at the Delmar Reformed Church on Delaware Avenue. Last year's event was held later in the year, but organizers wanted to make sure it would coincide with the most notorious of shopping days to hopefully generate interest and give shoppers more options.

It gives people the opportunity to shop in a different way, if they so choose, said Anna McMahon, of the Fair Trade Bethlehem Campaign. "It's an opportunity to do shopping that gives twice."

Fair trade products are items that are certified to have paid a living wage to the producer. In many instances, commercially produced items from developing countries come from farmers or laborers who are paid very little and have no opportunity to invest in their community or future, perpetuating a cycle of poverty.

Buying fair trade certified products can help the consumer rest assured their money will not fund such exploitation.

This year's market promises to be bigger than the last. Area dealers of fair trade items like Ten Thousand Villages, Bead for Life, Mayan Hands and Mango Tree Imports will be there, plus many more. Shoppers can expect to find clothing, arts, crafts, coffees and chocolate from the world over.

Local cafe Java Jazz will also be getting in on the action by selling refreshments during Friday's market. 10 percent of their revenues will be donated to the Central American fair trade group Unidas Para Vivir Mejor (United to Live Better). Peaceful Inspirations, also of Delmar, will be providing a Fair Trade basket to be raffled off at the event.

The Fair Trade Market will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The Delmar Reformed Church is at 386 Delaware Avenue, Delmar.

"We hope people will see it as a nice day out after the Thanksgiving celebration to continue the spirit of Thanksgiving," McMahon said.

For more details and a full vendor list, visit fairtrademarket.webs.com.""

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