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The Arizona Gathering is a Cult Classic for Crafty Types

​Sometimes the coolest events have the worst marketing. Take the 2010 Arizona Gathering, for example. Friends of ours have raved about the amazing workshops and fab supplies they've discovered at the annual event, but the generic name makes it sound like a creepy cult retreat.

And the website...let's just say it's about as unique and modern as a lace doily.

. There's no Kool-Aid or UFO talk at this get-together. The Arizona Gathering is a 

craft expo

with a focus on candle and soapmaking that's been around in the Valley for over 10 years. It even nabbed one of our coveted

Best Of Phoenix

 awards in 2008. 

This year's Gathering will take place from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday, June 26 at the Peace Lutheran Church, 89th Ave and Union Hills in Peoria. The event includes hands-on workshops on making cold-process soaps, crystal potpourri, funky shaped candles and theme packaging. There will also be craft vendors, a swap meet with prizes for "Best in Show" and a faux garage sale where crafters can sell their gently used candle and soapmaking equipment (cost to get your own garage sale table is five bucks).

The early bird registration period has passed, so you'll have to fork over $65 to attend The Gathering, or $75 if you wait until June. It seems like a lot, but you get all of the make-and-take workshops plus lunch. And if you use what you learn here to start making handmade gifts instead of purchasing overpriced Pier 1 crap for every holiday, you'll earn back the bucks in no time. 

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