Friday, Saturday, Sunday 10am-5pm
Art, Craft, Food, Music and more at The Practice Tee, Hunter Park Road in Manchester, Vermont.
Bring your friends and family and enjoy a beautiful weekend in picturesque Manchester.
Art, Craft, Food, Music and more at The Practice Tee, Hunter Park Road in Manchester, Vermont.
Bring your friends and family and enjoy a beautiful weekend in picturesque Manchester.
Autumn is here! In Vermont the days are getting shorter and crisper, the famous foliage is putting on its annual exhibit, and the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival is approaching. Artist and Artisan Exhibitors from around the country are making their way to tiny, picturesque Manchester for this annual celebration of art, craft, food, and music.
With over 150 Exhibitors, the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival has an impressive array of craftsmanship available for purchase: leatherwork; jewelry; clothing; furniture; wood bowls and spoons; inlaid mirrors and boxes; original paintings; prints; photography; and so much more (check out our Artist Listings page to see a list of participating artists).
The Festival has the feel of a bustling marketplace, with a spectacular backdrop of the Southern Vermont mountains at peak foliage. Upon entering the festival, visitors walk through a courtyard where small tents and booths shelter outdoor Exhibitors and food and beverage vendors. Stepping into the soaring white Camelot tents is like entering another world, each brightly lit booth beckons, handcrafted treasures displayed enticingly. A separate tent houses Specialty Food Exhibitors – gourmet chocolate, Vermont maple products, locally distilled spirits, jams and jellies, spice mixes…
When you are ready for a break, stop by one of the great food carts (gourmet grilled cheese, sweet or savory crepes, pizza, tacos, Asian cuisine, and more…) and then find a table in the Dining Tent. At 12:30 and 2:30 each day there will be live music – Spencer Lewis on Friday, Studio Two Beatles Tribute on Saturday, and The Bondville Boys on Sunday.
Many Exhibitors will be demonstrating their craft. Here, potter Richard Foye shares his techniques for firing raku pottery. See the results below:
Take another round of the Festival before you head home with your purchases. If you haven’t had enough, you can upgrade your admission to a weekend pass on your way out and come back again! There’s a lot to see at the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival and many incredible Artists to meet.
The Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival starts this Friday, October 3, and runs through Sunday, October 5. Hours are 10am-5pm daily. This is a family friendly event, but please leave pets at home. Adult admission is $10, kids 12 and under are free. There is plenty of free parking.
Sign up for our mailing list (at the bottom of the page) and get a coupon for $1 off adult admission.
This year Craftproducers is fortunate to host Dennis Sparling, one of Vermont’s best known sculptors, at both the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival and the Stowe Foliage Arts Festival. His work will be on display and for sale. Sparling’s latest creation, Leonardo Da Vinci, comes in an 18 foot long trailer and is lighted for nighttime viewing. Modestly and humorously Sparling says of his return to Vermont:
I arrived in Vermont in 1970, borrowed $60 from the new Vermont Craft Council run by Dyanne Fago—went dump diving for metals and arrived at the First Bennington Craft Show to sell nothing until two people came looking for me and helped me stay and get through the next 10 years in Vermont. Since then I have mainly sold my work out of state; until 2008 when my clientele disappeared.
Before Vermont I studied Architecture at Arizona State and U. of Washington — Built a Gallery in Pioneer Square, Seattle and collaborated with Tom Robins on “The Vincent Van Gough Donut Festival — then fled to Vermont looking for what Life was all about. Now I know a little more of what life is about, and it is time to pack up the wagon with some above average Stories and sell my pots and pans to Act III of the American Dream.
When autumn approaches, that’s when the craft festival season begins in earnest. The 23rd Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival kicks off American Craft Week in Vermont. The Festival will be held October 3 through 5 at the Practice Tee on Route 7A, a mile and a half north of the new roundabout in downtown Manchester, Vermont.
Coming to the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American Craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing hand-made decorative and functional objects. Craft show patrons demonstrate their love of these items by coming to the shows, meeting the artists, and buying handmade products. As one craft artist put it, “this is the creative economy!”
While other industry associations have long touted their products, the craft industry has lacked a single way to be highly visible. Along with craft organizations across the USA, Vermont is a leader in supporting American Craft Week. American Craft Week is held 10 days in October and the hope is to educate more people about the importance of American craftsmen and women. Crafts enrich our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. The crafts industry contributes to our nation’s economy and the fabric of our national history. Craftwork is original, beautiful and enduring.
The Manchester show features 150 artists and artisans displaying and selling traditional and contemporary crafts and original art as well as a specialty food tent. Exhibitors are housed in large Camelot tents, tents transformed into veritable cathedrals of creativity. While craft shopping, customers are delighted with culinary choices served by local restaurants and food trucks. The Dining Tent, which is heated, offers tables and chairs with a relaxed ambience. Vermont craft beers are served to accompany the luncheon plates. Live music will be played here too. Besides savoring Vermont food and drink, there are many craft demos and a Vermont Cheese Tent.
As part of the American Craft Week celebration in Vermont, the Vermont Craft Council is planning its Fall Open Studio Weekend on October 4 and 5. Maps will be available at the Festival so craft show patrons may also visit those studios local to Manchester. For more details about the Open Studio Weekend, visit VermontCrafts.com.
Once again, the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival will be held October 3-5 at the Practice Tee in Manchester. Hours are 10-5 daily, Friday through Sunday. Adult admission is $10, children are free. Rain or shine-under tents. Plenty of free parking. No pets, please.
Bring your friends, bring your kids, bring your parents! The Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival is back August 1-3 at Camelot Village in Bennington, VT!
With 150 art, craft, and specialty food Exhibitors, this festival is a shoppers paradise. Live music, comic juggling, great food, beer, wine, craft demonstrations, and the Kid Zone children’s area provide entertainment for all.
Visit the Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival page for details about the weekend, and head over to Artist Listings to see who is coming. Then plan out your weekend adventure in picturesque Bennington. We’ll see you there!
Art and Cynthia Baird are a husband and wife exhibiting team who travel to festivals and fairs together during the summer and autumn months and sell their handcrafted creations. Art is a potter, working from his studio in an antique barn behind the couple’s 1870’s home in the Adirondacks. Cynthia is a weaver, creating beautiful handwoven scarves and table textiles.
“The sights, textures, and rhythms of the natural world in our garden, in the woods near our house, and in the Adirondack wilderness shape the way I think about my work,” says Art. “I find insights in design, glazing, and surface decoration from Japanese folk pottery, the major influence on my work, and from 19th century American salt glazed pottery.” He mixes his own clay and glazes, believing “that mastery of every aspect of ceramics from raw materials to finished pieces is essential to being a potter.”
After a rousing success in 2013, the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival is returning to Camelot Village in Bennington August 1, 2, & 3. 150 artists and artisans will display and sell their own handcrafted creations. The exhibitors will be housed in Camelot tents. In addition to the arts and crafts, there will be a Kids Zone, a food court, music, comic juggling, and Vermont Craft Beers.
Bennington was without a major craft show since the American Crafts Council departed Mount Anthony High School in 1972. In 2013 Craftproducers brought its famous Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival to Bennington. This event had been held at Hildene in Manchester for nearly 30 years. When Hildene announced that its Meadows would be converted into agricultural pasture land, Craftproducers was left without a venue for its summer show as well as the Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival. As Necessity is often the Mother of Invention, Craftproducers listened to the overtures of the Bennington community and decided to move the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival there. Craftproducers Fall Manchester event was successfully moved to The Practice Tee at Riley Rink in 2013.
Now in its second year in Bennington, word has gotten out among the artists and artisans. ‘Bennington is back!” Seemingly, memories of the former craft show in Bennington were vividly alive. After 30 years the craft community still remembered the original craft market. The public came out in droves and avidly bought an abundance of craftworks. With such stellar sales, the grapevine spread the news. This year applications came in at a much higher rate so there will be more exhibitors and the quality of craftwork will be improved.
The show is hosted at Camelot Village, home of the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival. Camelot Village is worth a visit on its own. It is a sprawling multi-leveled barn full of antiques, collectibles, and furniture. The Festival is located on their lawns and pathways. There is a lovely food court under the shade of tall maple trees where picnic tables are available too. A dining tent with tables and chairs provides shelter for eating lunch and listening to the live music. There is a different musical act daily: Saints and Liars on Friday, Bob Stannard and Those Dangerous Bluesmen on Saturday, and The Bondville Boys on Sunday. Comic juggler Jason Pipitone will provide the laughs with daily intermittent shows.
What’s a Festival without great food? This one will deliver delicious choices: wood over pizza, falafel, chicken wraps, vegetarian curry, steak sandwiches, Chinese dumplings, sesame noodles, Greek salad, sausage, pepper, and onion sandwiches, French fries, espresso and lattes, lemonade, ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs, and kettle corn.
The Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival will be held August 1, 2, and 3 at Camelot Village, 66 Colgate Heights, on route 9, a little over a mile west of the Intersection of routes 7 and 9 in downtown Bennington. The Festival is open 10-5 on Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and children are free. Rain or shine- under tents. No dogs, please. For more information, visit www.craftproducers.com/festivals/southern-vermont-art-craft-festival.
2014 is here and Craftproducers is gearing up for a new year of Art and Craft Festivals! Applications are coming in from Artisan Exhibitors around the country and booth spaces are filling up.
We recognize the familiar names of Exhibitors who return year after year: people we have come to know well from the weekends spent together in beautiful fields around Vermont. And we are always excited to see the new names – whether they are artisans new to the festival world in general or seasoned veterans just now joining Craftproducers – we look forward to meeting them in person at Exhibitor checkin time.
From the photos sent in with their applications for jurying, we know what each Exhibitor will be bringing to the shows. But we know that touring the tents and seeing the booths overflowing with handcrafted creations will, as always, be an inspiring reminder of the variety and quality of the work these Artisans offer.
We are looking forward to a wonderful 2014 Festival season – we hope to see you there!
Late in the 1960’s, The Northeast Regional Assembly of the American Crafts Council moved its flagship enterprise, the Northeast Regional Craft Fair to Bennington. Their initial show was held in Stowe, VT and was called “Confrontation.” Seemingly everything in the sixties was a confrontation: civil rights marches, peace parades, multiple murders of political leaders (two Kennedys, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King). This was the era women went braless and people openly smoked “grass” in the streets. There were revolutions worldwide, from Paris to New York City, Peking to Tokyo, the world was in a tumultuous uproar. The Beatles, The Stones, and Bob Dylan all crooned “the times are a changin” fueled by anti-Vietnam war fever and abundant LSD at universities.
Even the prim and proper American Craftsmen’s Council felt the reverberations; in 1969, they changed their name to “American Crafts Council” so as to provide a bigger umbrella. That same year, the Crafts Council moved their “Confrontation” to Bennington and called it a much more commercially viable “The Northeast Regional Craft Fair.” The venue was Mount Anthony High School. Inside the lobby and the gym, down the corridors, craft booths were arranged in rows. These were the “chosen few,” the elite craft designers, many of whom were teachers at universities and famous craft schools like Penland in North Carolina and the Rhode Island School of Design in Rhode Island. While their craftwork was cutting edge contemporary, these artisans were sartorially sedate.
Outside on the playing fields of the high school, the dress code was noticeably different. There were hundreds of craft exhibitors, all arranged loosely in rows, up and down the grassy field. Some had pop up tents and tepees, others built structures from wood, metal, cardboard, and plastic. Meanwhile, many craft booths were set up on blankets, with wares strewn casually here and there. Many of the exhibitors played guitars, nursed babies, and sipped wine or beer. While the scene was representative of many public gatherings in the late sixties, the craftwork displayed and sold was of very high caliber, even in this outdoor crafts bazaar component of the Craft Fair.
As is the case to the present day, craft festivals were vital markets for the craftspeople. At this show, there was a Wholesale Day— a day when only buyers from shops and galleries were allowed entry. This was Thursday when the buyers ordered products for future delivery to their stores. (In the early years, many of the larger craft shows had a “wholesale day, only for buyers.” The first wholesale only craft shows began in the 1980’s and these events were limited to bona fide, documented owners and buyers representing businesses; the general public was not allowed.
Back then the real money was transacted Friday through Sunday when the crowds swelled to more than 5,000 on any given day. Craft sales were brisk. The traffic gridlocks were memorable as Mount Anthony High School was not designed to accommodate a large influx of automobiles. Getting onto and off Route 7 created major congestion, even at the traffic light at the four corners, patience was stretched. However, hotels and restaurants were jammed packed for the weekend and the show contributed mightily to the local economy. This was the beginning of an era which lasted up to the naughts of the new millennium. 72,000,000 million baby boomers arrived, seemingly out of now where. They craved “cool” things. They went to craft shows to buy: decorative objects for their homes and offices, personal adornments like jewelry and clothing, functional crafts for the kitchen and dining, sculpture for the garden and patio, and unique gifts for friends and family. Their thirst for craftwork has diminished recently as the boomers hit 6o. They no longer needed “stuff” for their homes as they were now downsizing. Their replacements, Generation X, were only 17,000,000. So, suddenly there were 55,000,000 fewer shoppers. As the 70,000,000 million Gen Y mature, graduate from college, get jobs, and have families there will be a resurgence in retailing. This augurs well for handmade craft work as this generation is predisposed to buying local foods and products. When the ACC Northeast Craft Fair outgrew the Bennington location and left for the spacious Dutchess County Fairgrounds in Rhinebeck, NY, many Vermont artisans felt there was a void to be filled. In 1973 four intrepid and visionary Vermonters formed an organization called “Craftproducers,” the very same organization that is bringing back the craft fair to Bennington in 2013. (The founders of Craftproducers were Riki Moss, potter; Bob Burnell, The Stone Soldier, potter; John McCloud, woodworker; and, Charley Dooley, candle maker. Ever since, Dooley has been producing art and craft festival for 40 years.)
So, 40 years later, the craft show has returned to Bennington:
The 35th Annual Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival, August 2, 3, & 4 at Camelot Village, a mile west of Town on Route 9. The show was initially held in Manchester at the recreation area before it moved to Hildene meadows in 1984. It was a huge success, especially in the 1990’s when Stratton held the men’s tennis tournaments and later the LPGA golf tournament. Today Hildene no longer wants to be an event venue, rather an agricultural tourist destination. Their decision led Craftproducers to seek a new home for the craft show.
The organizers of the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival are pleased with the enthusiastic welcome from the Bennington community. Current Craftproducers Owner, Tim Cianciola, says, “I am blown away by the friendly welcome and strong support from everyone in Bennington. I think we may be starting a new tradition.” The Vermont Arts Exchange, the Bennington Museum, the Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Hawkins House Craftsmarket, Bennington Potters, Better Bennington Corporation, Fiddlehead at Four Corners Gallery, and others are actively involved in planning for the Festival. Together with the Bennington Banner and these local groups, Craftproducers is coordinating a town wide Bennington Arts Weekend. Details will be published on the website www.craftrproducers.com about the individual activities of each arts participant. For example, the Bennington Museum will have a craft related installation in the Decorative Arts gallery. It will also stay open later on Friday as it is also “First Friday” in Bennington. For details about First Friday events, visit www.betterbennington.com. The actual Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival will take place Friday through Sunday, August 2-4, at Camelot Village, the home of the Southern Vermont Garlic Festival. The hours are Friday and Saturday 10-5 and on Sunday 10-4. 140 juried artists, artisans, and specialty food makers will present their handmade works. Many of the exhibitors will be housed under brilliantly white Camelot tents while others will line up under their own canopies. Live music will be played all weekend in the food court. Localvore caterers will serve organic wood fired pizzas, lobster rolls, grass fed burgers, sausages, sweet and savory waffles and crepes, sesame noodles, dumplings, salads, crispy tofu, local ice cream, Green Mountain Coffee, and more. Vermont Craft Beers and summer wines will be served in the Wine and Beer Café Tent. There are lovely shade trees on the property to afford delightful summer al fresco lunching.
The Vermont Arts Exchange will have its Arts Bus at the site providing kids activities and Thomas the Train will be there to ferry the small children here and there. All in all, The Festival promises to be fun as well as “the” place to shop for contemporary craftwork. And, it is just a few steps down the road to the Bennington Museum; check www.benningtonmuseum.org for what’s happening that weekend. It’s well worth a visit after or before the craft show.
This article originally appeared in “This is Vermont: Guide to the Shires of Vermont”, Summer 2013 edition. PDF here.