Theater sets stage for unique gift fair

Annual Duck the Malls event at Capitol Theater offers handmade wares, homebaked goodies

Contributing writerDecember 13, 2013 

With the Olympia Film Society’s Duck the Malls in its 11th year, chances are that you know it’s a place to find handmade holiday gifts.

But maybe you’ve buzzed right through the lobby in your haste to see the wares, which are sold in the theater’s aisles, on the stage, on the mezzanine and even in the balcony.

Or maybe you just plain don’t want to duck the malls.

In that case, you might have been missing out on one of the biggest parts of the event: the bake sale.

The baked goods — including gluten-free and vegan options — are all homemade by the participating artists.

Upcycled-clothing designer Shari Trnka will bake gluten-free snickerdoodles, and Amanda Lux, who creates elaborate mosaic altars, is thinking about baking squash muffins with chocolate chips.

“It’s another art form,” said Audrey Henley, the theater’s operations director. “People come up with some of the most unique desserts.”

Proceeds from the bake sale — and booth fees paid by the artists — benefit the film society.

“We make a killing on the bake sale,” Henley said. “I think we bring in over $800.”

Some artists are surprised to be asked to turn on the oven before the show. “New people are like, ‘What? You want me to bake something?’ ”

“I thought it was really quaint,” Lux said. “It reminds me that I’m in a small town.”

The goodies are for sale in the lobby, along with coffee, tea, cocoa, cider and soda.

The main event, of course, is the shopping. The event hosts 61 artists and crafters offering an array of gifts, including jewelry, clothing, paintings, pottery and Trnka’s popular elf slippers, created from old sweaters.

“This year, there’s a lot more housewares kind of stuff — clocks, glassware, dishes, things like that,” Henley said.

Among the more unusual offerings are wooden swords made by Scott Hauser of Hauser Boat Works; whimsical toys by Liz Sallee Bauer of Ollie Toys; and Lux’s altars, designed to be hung on a wall and including a shelf for holding special objects.

Lux creates the altars out of old dishes, beads and more, mostly collected at yard sales and thrift stores.

“The mosaic style is inspired by years of collaging,” she said. “I mostly use a hammer, and I’m not super precise on purpose. I like seeing how the breaks turn out.”

And shopping at Duck the Malls is a different way to experience the movie theater. Shoppers wend their way down the aisles, climb on stage and try on clothing in the restrooms.

But back in the lobby, it’s comfortingly familiar — except for the cookies, brownies and other treats that you won’t typically find during a movie.

However, leftovers often are available during the 9 p.m. screening Saturday, Henley said. This year, the film society will show “Inequality for All,” a documentary about the widening income gap in the United States.

Some people don’t even make it past the treats during Duck the Malls.

“There’ll be parents coming in,” Henley said. “One parent will stay with the kids and get them the treats and then they’ll meander around downtown while the other parent is shopping.”

Duck the Malls

What: The Olympia Film Society’s 11th annual holiday arts and crafts fair hosts 61 artists and crafters and a really big bake sale.

When: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday

Where: Capitol Theater, 206 Fifth Ave. SE, Olympia

Tickets: Free

More information: 360-754-6670 or

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