Somewhere out there is a man or woman who wants one of Rick Benson’s fashionable lighter holders.

Somewhere out there is a man or woman who wants one of Rick Benson’s fashionable lighter holders.

Benson, who has been making these unique devices for the last eight years, swears that people like them. Adorned with pictures of flaming skulls, motorcycle demons and Confederate flags, the little slips for lighters are one of several unique crafts at Buckner’s Festival in the Valley, a three day event that officially started with games and carnival rides on Thursday.

“People do like ‘em,” Benson said from under his tent.

Spread across the table were the little devices. On the outside of the hollow shell was what appeared to be sandpaper, but was in reality cigarette tobacco fused onto the surface with polyurethane.

“I came up with it myself,” he said. “The people who come out of the bars really late at night – they really love ‘em. They like having a place to put their lighter, and they’re great conversation pieces.”

But there were other conversations pieces, too.

Over at The Leather Shop, Dennis Turner was busy stacking hats and leather wallets in rows. An Independence resident, Turner said he enjoys the smallness of the festival and the people. Like many business owners, he’s been struggling financially, and festivals like these can put a little bit of bounce in his step.

And the atmosphere helps, too.

“It’s a good time – I just hope it doesn’t rain us down,” he said.

By 4 p.m., the clouds were few, but there was darkness on the horizon, specifically in the west.

Sheri Lollar, a coordinator for the event, said she expected the weather to hold out. Racing from one side of the street to the other, Lollar admits that the work can be consuming, but it’s worth it.

“By 10 p.m., it’s crowded along the street,” she said.

The festival has been an annual event since 1968, she said.

Barbara Mullins of Buckner was holding herself in check by the bleachers. She wanted one of those elephant ear creations, but her diet and afternoon heartburn kept her sitting.

“I’ll get one,” she said. “Maybe...maybe not. It depends how I feel later tonight.”

The festival concludes today, beginning with a parade at 10 a.m. General festivities – eating, browsing, shopping, listening to music on the stage, riding rides – continue throughout the day and evening.