Leather show lands in Prineville
Local leather crafter Melanie Marlow felt the Pacific Northwest needed a spring leather trade show.
So, she took matters into her own hands and partnered with the Prineville-Crook County Chamber of Commerce to establish the Prineville Leather Show.
"Vendors from all over the country are coming to Prineville to set up shop for a weekend to display their wares, talents and products," Marlow said. "It's two full days of leather and everything involved with leather."
The new event is planned for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 26-27 in the Grizzly Mountain Pavilion at the Crook County Fairgrounds.
"It is a trade show. There are no booths there where you can buy a leather purse, but you can buy everything it takes to make one," explained Marlow, who owns Shasta Leatherworks in Prineville.
Patterned after the Pendleton Leather Show, which happens annually the first weekend of November, the Prineville Leather Show will feature many of the same vendors.
"Not only is there going to be leather there, there's going to be a lot of findings, like hardware and silver and buckles and machines and tools," Marlow said, noting that a sewing machine distributor and bulk leather vendors will also be on hand.
Tandy Leather, a Western U.S. supplier, specializes in kits, tools and supplies. Oregon Leather Co., based in the Willamette Valley, offers full hides, hardware, saddlery and shoe materials.
Weber Stirrups, of Nampa, Idaho, will be at the show, selling hand-crafted saddle stirrups. Hansen Silver, a wholesale supplier based in Oakdale, California, will be there with their hand-engraved silver products.
Maverick Leather, of Bend, will be selling a variety of leather. Burns-based Alden's School of Leather Trades will also be at the show, offering a full schedule of classes.
"We are having demonstrations and presentations by master leather carvers," Marlow said. "I have people who do beading and lacing and presentations on informative things that will be going on throughout both days."
When Prineville Leather Show attendees enter the show, they will sign in, be given a name tag, and be entered into a drawing for a chance to win Leather Dollars.
"You have to be present to win. If your name is drawn, you will end up with money to spend. It's not cash money. It's a little certificate that you can spend there at the leather show at any of the vendors of your choice," Marlow explained.
Visitors may also purchase raffle tickets for a variety of gift baskets. Shasta Leatherworks is raffling a basket of items from Prineville Coffee Company and Gypsy Barn Boutique. Jim Roths has donated wine and a $100 gift card to Club Pioneer and Dillon's Grill. There will also be a pair of chaps and several other items in the raffle.
Several rodeo royalty ladies from across the state will pay a visit to the Prineville Leather Show, advertising their rodeos and signing autographs.
Members of the Prineville Lions Club will sell coffee and pastries as well as snacks and lunch until 2:30 p.m. each day.
The fairgrounds will be hopping with activity that weekend, and leather show visitors will also be able to check out the Cowboy Fast Draw Oregon State Championship, the Oregon Junior High Division Rodeo, the 4-H Horse Show, and the Central Oregon Pee Wee Rodeo.
Marlow said she has an amazing partnership with the Chamber, where she serves as Chamber ambassador chair, and hopes to be able to offer an even larger Prineville Leather Show next year.
She pointed out that the Pendleton Leather Show used to happen every fall and every spring, but they stopped doing the spring show.
"The fall in Pendleton, with the traffic and weather, sometimes that's not always the best, and another leather show is very needful," she said, noting that the next leather shows are in Sheridan, Wyoming, and Wickenburg, Arizona.
But Prineville, she said, is a good spot for another Northwest leather snow.
"We're centrally located. We have Highway 97, we have the airport. A lot of the vendors will drop ship their inventory and then fly in," Marlow said.
She invites the community to attend the local show as well.
"Even if you don't do anything with leather, it is amazing to see how much there is and what it is used for and all the people that use it," she said.
Prineville Leather Show
Dates: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 26-27
Place: Crook County Fairgrounds Grizzly Mountain Pavilion, 1280 S. Main St.