Midwest Living Review
There's satisfaction when shopping results in the peace of goodwill, which could explain why fair trade awareness is on the rise. This annual fair trade craft show brings nearly 100 vendors together at a one-stop fair trade shopping destination, timed perfectly to meet your holiday needs. Granted, you won't find those sleek heels or this season's must-have handbag, but there are plenty of sophisticated gifts on display. Artwork, candles, jewelry, scarves, purses, yarn, clothing, lotions, chocolate, rugs, pottery, coffee, house wares, books, food items -- it's all here. If you're drawn to stores like World Market and Pier One, you can get the real things at this show knowing your dollar is making a difference. Take the beautiful wire-and-bead owl figurine whose proceeds fund HIV prevention in Africa and Wisconsin alike, or the handprint-covered Toca Aqui ("Touch Here") dishtowels made by orphans in Sao Paula, Brazil. The best part of the show, by far, are the stories you'll hear from vendors eager to discuss causes close to their hearts. You'll walk away from this shopping experience with your head held high (and your belly full of treats like Terra Source fine vegan dark chocolate, YUM.) Don't forget the bonus of downtown Madison; the show is housed in the lower level of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Monona Terrace Convention Center, right on the isthmus the city is famous for. Once inside, ask for directions -- there's always a lot going on at the convention center, even in winter. Parking is $4; coat racks are on site.