HARTSGROVE TOWNSHIP — Saturday marked the beginning of the ninth annual Christmas in the Barn craft show, benefiting victims of domestic violence.

Christmas in the Barn, started in 2011, is more than just a craft show.

Robbi Zakowski, the organizer of the event, has been campaigning for GPS monitoring of people with a history of domestic violence since her friend, Paulette Propst, was murdered by her estranged husband in August of 2011.

"Paulette wanted this show," Zakowski said. "So we want to make this in honor of her and we want the laws changed."

The event is supported by Women Helping Women, which Zakowski also organizes.

"Women helping Women and the surrounding groups are banding together. Geauga County is here today. I believe Lake County is here today. And they're saying the same things. What can we do to work together to make this happen," Zakowski said.

Originally, the show took place entirely inside of the barn at Fullercrest Farms in Orwell. Now, the show has spread around the rest of the farm. There are more than 80 vendors at the event this year, Zakowski said.

There are crafts, food and a Chinese auction at the event.

Many of the vendors at the event had homemade items for sale.

"It's been a great show all of these years," Donna Backelman, of Donna's Unique Bath and Body Products, said. Backelman has been attending the event for at least five years. Backelman said the cause was why she was there.

Also present was Dave Palmiter, an Austinburg resident who owns Dave's Custom Pens.

Palmiter, along with the rest of the vendors at the event, donated items to the Chinese auction. Approximately 100 items are expected for this year's Chinese auction, Joanne Bevacqua, who organizes the auction, said. Winners for the various items will be drawn on Sunday at 2 p.m., Bevacqua said.

GPS costs the monitored person $6 per day, Zakowski said. "We want to save lives, we want to make a difference. It's so sad," Zakowski said.

"This is so much work, but it's worth every bit of the work if we save lives," Zakowski said. She thanked all the vendors and volunteers for helping to make the event successful.

"Let's take a chance that we'll save some lives," Zakowski said.

"Paulette was an awesome person. She changed a lot of lives in her time here, and ... we plan on carrying that torch and getting things done," Zakowski said.

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