BETHLEHEM Heading out to a shopping mall or big box store to fight over flat screens has become all but a Thanksgiving tradition for many families, but in Bethlehem a different kind of Black Friday shopping tradition is becoming more entrenched by the year.
For the fourth year, local fair trade advocates will be offering unique items handcrafted by artisans from all over the world at the annual Black Friday Market. Anna McMahon, of the Fair Trade Bethlehem Campaign, is confident there will be items for everyone on your shopping list.
“Our attendance numbers continue to rise,” she said. “There is definitely a popular demand, so this year we are extending our Saturday hours.”
The sale has been held the past several years on Black Friday after the group realized there was an interest from residents who begin shopping that day, but also want to do it responsibly and without fighting crowds.
“Some people prefer to shop in a way that is not ethical or doesn’t contribute to greater good,” she said. “We feel that by purchasing fair trade, shoppers are giving back to the people who made those items.”
Fair trade products 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 communities or futures, 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 sale will feature 17 different vendors offering items from countries like Kenya, Uganda, India, China and Cambodia. Some favorite vendors will also be returning, such as Mayan Hands, Mango Tree Imports, Kenyan Crafts from Kibera and Sak Saum.
Brenda Rosenbaum and Anne Kelly of Mayan Hands, based in Albany, said the sale is a wonderful opportunity for them to showcase their products.