This year, for the first time on the Key Peninsula, you can bring home a slew of unique, homemade, locally crafted gifts without driving any further than the Key Peninsula Civic Center. Even better, you can do it without opening your wallet.

KP Barter will host its Holiday Barter Fair Saturday, Dec. 6 from 10 a.m. to noon in the center’s Whitmore Room. Area residents can bring their homemade or home-grown items to trade with those of their neighbors. The event is free.

Formed in April of this year, KP Barter is a new and growing group. They’ve held two barter fairs, the first in June and the second in September, each drawing locals ready to trade plant starts for goat cheese, jewelry for homemade fudge, salsa for home-brewed beer, and much more.  

From the beginning, KP Barter has also encouraged interested folks to stroll through and check out the barter fair, even if they haven’t brought anything to trade.

“What we do is something a lot of people have never done before, at least not as part of an organized group,” said Alice Kinerk, one of the group’s founders. “It’s understandable they are reluctant to jump into something new. We are happy to have newcomers stop by just to browse.”

Browsers beware: Nothing will be sold for cash at the event. However, you can make arrangements to purchase an item off-site.

Barter vouchers are available at the check-in table for items that would be difficult to transport to the barter fair, such as firewood or laying hens. They can also be used to trade services such as tutoring or a haircut.

“Many people say they like the idea of the barter fair, but can’t participate because they aren’t ‘crafty’ and don’t have anything to trade. Almost always when they stop and think about it, they come up with something that would make a great trade,” Kinerk said.  

The idea for the group came about after a couple of Key Peninsula residents attended similar barter fairs in Tacoma and wanted to create a group closer to home. Barter groups throughout Western Washington have grown quickly in recent years. However, the rural location of KP Barter makes it unique. “It’s great to have the event out here where we live because we are already a pretty close-knit community. It feels better to barter with our neighbors than to trek out to the big city,” Kinerk said.

Key Peninsula resident Meghan Conant has taken part in both of the previous barter fairs and plans to attend the upcoming event as well. She enjoys the variety of items people bring to trade and likes the fact that there is always something new.

“Although you see some of the same faces, people bring different things each time. It’s fun to see how people are talented. You might see someone you recognize but you never know what they’re going to bring to trade,” Conant said.

Although the barter fair is free, KP Barter does encourage those in attendance to purchase raffle tickets for $1 each. A variety of items donated by barterers are raffled off during the event.  Money raised helps to defray printing costs as well as facility rental fees.  

For information, to see what people are planning to bring, or to ask questions about the event, visit the Key Peninsula Barter Facebook page. You can also check out the group’s blog at kpbarter.wordpress.com or contact Alice Kinerk at 884-2723.

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