Donna Billinger left the Sermon Center Friday evening holding what looked like a staff. Upon closer inspection, the pole was actually a gigantic rain gauge.

Donna Billinger left the Sermon Center Friday evening holding what looked like a staff. Upon closer inspection, the pole was actually a gigantic rain gauge.

The gauge stands 5 feet tall, not the typical 12-inch gauge you see in yards or attached to a post.

The numbers and hash marks are big on the $25 red rain gauge.
Her 87-year-old dad lives on 5 acres in Springfield, Mo.

“He likes to know how much rain he has had,” said Billinger, of Independence. “He can look out the window and can see it without going out.”

Billinger got the big rain gauge at The Best Little Arts and Craft Show, a two-day event Friday and Saturday at the Sermon Center.

Billinger also bought two cookbooks, one for her and other for her 16-year-old granddaughter who is “just starting to cook.”

She purchased a dip chiller and some dip for her daughter-in-law.
Needless to say, but Billinger has a head start on Christmas shopping. That’s a good thing. She hates fighting the Black Friday crowd.

Billinger likes making crafts, and the show is a good idea generator.

“There was a lady who took some old denim jeans. She cut the legs off, left the pockets in the front and put a tie on them and some Kansas City Chiefs print and made aprons out of them,” Billinger said. “I thought that was really cool. I’m going to try that.”

Denise Heggarty, of Independence, checks out the show each year.

“We go Christmas shopping here,” she said. “We do a Chinese Christmas (a gift exchange game) in our family. A lot of times the crafts stuff is good for that. And it’s very popular.”

Jodi Wynn, a city recreation program supervisor, said the vendors are mostly local and from the metro area. But there are some who travel from Kansas, Arkansas, and St. Louis.

The 28th annual show started on Friday. There are 123 vendors on four floors at the Sermon Center.

The event is organized and operated by the Independence Parks and Recreation Department.