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July 24, 2005

Handmade and high end

The country's oldest crafts fair opens its 72d exhibition and sale Aug. 6 at the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, N.H. More than 200 booths will feature museum-quality contemporary and traditional crafts including pottery, furniture, glass, fiber arts, and jewelry, all by state-juried members of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. Many artists return year after year, and repeat visitors can watch their art evolve. Some of the artists' children are now exhibiting their own crafts, available for purchase in a shop called The Next Generation. The fair's community spirit attracts thousands of visitors every year, who also enjoy the picnic areas, food tent, cafeterias, and garden cafe. Free parking and a free shuttle bus are available. Craft demonstrations and workshops are part of the tradition, as are free performances by jazz, folk, and other musicians.

Adults $8, seniors and students $6, children under 12 free. Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m. rain or shine. Visit www.nhcrafts.org.

JUDY KUGEL

An open invitation

Here's another reason to love France. The Maison de la France Government Tourist Office introduces its first edition of ''FranceGuide for the Gay Traveler." This free introductory guide is a colorful 24-page brochure inviting gays and lesbians to visit the land of ''liberty, equality, and fraternity." Not everyone knows that France has recognized gay rights since 1792 and was the first nation to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Categorized by theme, the guide offers useful information by region and culture, spa and well-being, food and wine, nightlife, accommodations, family, practical information, and events, highlighting where to find gay and lesbian communities, and gay-friendly restaurants and accommodations. Its family section details places where gay family vacationers can find theme parks, educational and interactive cultural centers, as well as outdoor adventures and activities. In addition, there's a list of gay-specific events in 2005 and spring 2006.

Contact France-on-Call at 514-288-1904. Online version available soon. www.franceguide.com.

NECEE REGIS

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