Helena Ice Arena was busy with more than blades Friday when it opened for its first ever craft vendor event, Skate and Shop.

The idea came to Jaymie Noble when she was thinking of ways to generate more interest for the arena. Noble is the arena bookkeeper and bakes baklava for her side business, Jaymie’s Kitchen.

A veteran at the Helena Farmers Market and area craft fairs, she thought the event would be a great way for parents to finish their Black Friday shopping and let the children skate for $5 during open session.

Craft vendors often are parents or grandparents, so why not allow them to sell their wares for a low booth fee and let them bring their children or grandchildren to skate for the day?

“I’m trying to get more people here and let people know that indoor skating is here,” Noble said.

The arena is in East Helena and set back from Highway 287. "Not a lot of people know we exist," she said.

Lisa Schliep of Belgrade was having fun Friday watching the children ice skate, while selling stuffed animals and Scentsy products. She heard about the event at the Helena Ice Arena through another craft fair she signed up for on Saturday.

“I figured I would make two days of it and do both,” Schliep said.

Schliep sold enough to cover her booth cost before noon.

“This is so much fun," Linda Casey of East Helena said.

This was Casey’s first craft fair, although she has taken her homemade goods to the Helena Farmer’s Market. Casey learned to crochet from her mom years ago and now spends her time making hats and hand towels as gifts.

She was enjoying the children not only on the ice but coming through looking at her booth.

That sentiment was echoed by Mari Haefka of Helena. Haefka said this was her second ever craft show selling her quilted goods. Lap blankets, wall hangings and table runners were displayed on and under the windows looking down upon the ice.

Haefka said the best part was watching children try to guess what their parents might buy them for the holidays.

Noble said she hopes to be able to continue the Black Friday event as well as create other events that will bring public awareness to the arena.

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City Editor

Assistant editor at the Helena Independent Record.

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