CRAFTS in the Pen returns to Skipton Auction Mart this weekend - and organisers are promising a pre-Christmas treat for all the family.

With 230, carefully picked craft stalls, a ‘Starlight Cafe’ and Santa’s Grotto for the children, the two day event - on Saturday and Sunday - is expected to attract hundreds of people from far and wide, all helping to ensure the future of the Mart Theatre.

Inspired by Arts in the Pen, also held at the auction mart, Crafts in the Pen was first held in 2015 and is the annual fundraiser for the Mart Theatre, with all proceeds going to ensure the venue can keep going without external funding.

During the year, and when it is not being used for the selling of animals, and machinery, the auction ring of the mart is converted into a 300 seat theatre space, for the staging of stand-up comedy, live music, theatre and opera.

Phillip Harding, event coordinator, said Crafts in the Pen had steadily grown in popularity. “Giant chain companies and e-commerce have reduced Christmas shopping into a detached and mundane chore, as people stock up on “three for two” offers and exchange the same tins of chocolates in a perfunctory fashion.

“Crafts in the Pen brings the joy back to Christmas shopping and supports local businesses at the same time.”

He added: “Exhibitors offer unique items you won’t find on the high street, in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Instead of elbowing your way through shops and fighting over the last Star Wars themed shaving gel, visit Crafts in the pen, stroll down all five streets and buy some presents that are as unique as the people you are buying them for.”

Prospective stall holders have to go through a selection process before they are given a place at the event to make sure they are of a high enough standard and to ensure a variety and diverse mix.

Crafts in the Pen is open from 10am to 4pm on Saturday(November 16) and Sunday, November 17; entry is £5, and free for under 16 year olds. The entry fee includes parking, an event brochure and Santa’s grotto tickets.