An Art-Filled Weekend

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The warm sun was beating through the windows of my car as my friend Sheila—a fellow arts and crafts lover—and I hit the road for Bennington, Vermont, and the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival. This annual event has occurred in Bennington during the first weekend in August for five years. The crowning jewel of the annual, three-day Bennington Arts Weekend, the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival (put on by Craftproducers) is a vibrant event that draws locals and visitors alike to the gateway of Vermont.

READ THE REST OF THIS PIECE BY KIM GIFFORDS >

The MooseMan, Rick Libbey

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As a child growing up on his father’s 165-acre dairy farm in Whitinsville, MA, Rick Libbey learned to appreciate nature and all living things. In 1981, after moving to New Hampshire, he had his first encounter with moose – ironically in the wilderness of Maine, where he had been invited to a friend’s remote cabin. The encounter would prove to be life-changing. For thirty-five years, Rick has returned twice yearly to that remote lake in Maine, dropped by float plane, to photograph moose from a kayak. Due to the frequency of his visits, he has come to know some of the bulls and a cow moose and their calves, watching them grow to adulthood. Every encounter is documented with a photograph as well as notes Rick takes in his log book.

Rick started his business, MooseMan Nature Photography in 2003. His love of wildlife and photography has expanded to include eagles, loons, fox, bears, and all animals of the woods and waters. It is with a great deal of respect that he approaches any of his subjects, studying them from a distance and slowly working his way closer, studying their behavior and earning their trust. By reading the animal’s body language, Rick knows when to not approach or back away if necessary. This is key for capturing some of these remarkable images. In these photographs, one can feel and appreciate the sense of calm and trust in the subjects.

Rick will only be Exhibiting at Craftproducers summer show – the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival in Bennington – this year, as the Autumn will find him back in Alaska searching out more incredible scenes of the wild.

One of the most important messages Rick wishes to share is that of gratitude. To be out in the quietness of early morning watching as the sun rises, or later, as it sets, is at the same time grounding and uplifting. Humbling, and awe-inspiring. He considers himself a very lucky man to be among nature doing what he does. He hopes you enjoy his labor of love.

Arts Festival Highlights Bennington Arts Weekend

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logo-sv-w-website-webFor the fourth consecutive year the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival will be the jewel in the crown of an ever expanding Bennington Arts Weekend. The Art and Craft Festival will be held at Camelot Village on Route 9 about two miles west of downtown. 150 artists, artisans, and specialty food producers will showcase their creations under enormous gleaming white Camelot tents. Along with craft shopping, the ambiance is festive: live music, craft demos, kids activities, and a food court serving a menu to please any palate and featuring Vermont craft beers.

Several Bennington organizations work together to in staging the Arts Weekend; The Bennington Chamber of Commerce, Better Bennington Corporation, Bennington Potters, Cultural Bennington Arts Council, and The Four Corners North group including Hawkins House Craftsmarket, The Tap House at Catamount Glass, the Bennington Banner, as well as other galleries,  the Bennington Museum, and The Old Castle Theatre Company.

While the Southern Vermont Art & Craft Festival is taking place at Camelot Village, the town of Bennington is busy and bustling with Vermont craft beer on tap and food vendors offering local farm to table fare. All this in the beautiful atmosphere that only Southern Vermont can offer. On Friday downtown is alive with First Friday. On Saturday, August 6, the Homebrew Festival takes place at The Four Corners North with a free shuttle running to the craft show at Camelot Village. Check the Better Bennington website for a complete schedule

The Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival runs 10-5 on Friday and Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday. Adult admission is $8 and kids and parking are free. All Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival details can be found at www.craftproducers.com.

Come spend the weekend in Bennington! Enjoy Vermont’s first town. Visit the Festivals, eat good food, drink good beer, walk the downtown. Breath the air, relax, and become a Vermonter!

Vermont Art and Craft Festivals and Events

Watermelon Salad from Seven Barrels

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Summer in the North Country is a marvelous thing, but even here it does get hot. And there’s truly no better food on a summer afternoon than watermelon… unless it is watermelon and cucumber, with some ripe tomatoes warm from the garden, a crumble of goat cheese, a few sprigs of fresh basil…
This delightful salad recipe is brought to you from the good folks at Seven Barrels, purveyors of olive oils and aged Italian balsamics and one of the fabulous Specialty Foods Exhibitors at the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival, starting this Friday (July 31) and happening all weekend at Camelot Village in beautiful Bennington, VT!
 
WATERMELON SALAD
1/2 seedless watermelon, cubed
2 ripe red tomatoes, cubed
1 English cucumber, cubed
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp basil, chopped
1/2 c arugula, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
For dressing
1/4 c Prickly Pear Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tbsp Lime Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Basil Olive Oil
In a small bowl, jar, or container, mix the vinegar and oils for the dressing – whisk (or shake, if using a lidded jar or container) well and set aside.
Cube, crumble, and chop salad ingredients and add to a large serving bowl. Lightly toss to mix. Drizzle dressing over the top and gently toss again to coat. Serve immediately and enjoy!

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Design Your Own Silk Scarf!

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Paint on water and create your own gorgeous silk scarf with Shibumi Silks at the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival.

 

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Richard Borden and Patricia DeSantis are the dynamic duo behind Shibumi Silks – creating custom designed water marbled silk scarves and drawing crowds with their demonstrations and interactive booth display.

Visit Shibumi Silks at the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival to try your hand at painting with ink on water, marbling, and ultimately creating your own one-of-a-kind marbled silk scarf: a masterpiece of color and texture! Shibumi Silks will have their entire set-up waiting for you to choose your ink colors and scarf style and they will guide you in every step of this fascinating creative process! Look for their booth in the outdoor courtyard.

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photo credit: Shibumi Silks

Spirited Away

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First it was cheese. Then craft beer. Now it’s distilled spirits. And like Vermont Cheese and Vermont Craft Beers, Vermont Spirits are winning awards and raising the bar (no pun intended) for whiskey, rum, rye, vodka, and gin.

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At the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival, we are very pleased to welcome five fabulous distilled spirits Exhibitors:

Whistle Pig 100% Rye Whiskey – Award winning and one of the best whiskeys in the world.

Dunc’s Mill – the longest running distillery in Vermont, distilling small batches of rum made from scratch.

Saxton’s River Distillery – featuring Maple Liqueur, Maple Bourbon, and Maple Rye.

Caledonia Spirits – award winning gin and vodka made with honey.

Appalachian Gap – making a variety of spirits from their solar powered distillery.

Appalachian Gap Distillery

Samples will be available at the Festival, and you can purchase your favorites right on the spot and take the bottles home to enjoy later with friends and family. Gift shopping? look no further! These wonderfully crafted spirits will please even the most discerning palette.

whistle-pig

First and last photo via Whistle Pig Whiskey, Middle photo via Appalachian Gap Distillery

CERF’s “At the Ready” Fund

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For 30 years, the Craft Emergency Relief Fund, or CERF+, has helped artists get back on their feet after personal and natural disasters. Providing immediate financial aid through grants, no-interest loans, access to resources, waivers and discounts on booth fees, and donations of craft supplies and equipment, CERF+ allows artists from all over the USA to get back on their feet and back to creating.

Donations to CERF+’s “At the Ready” Fund will be matched by the Windgate Charitable Foundation. Help support American Artists and keep our creative economy strong. Donate to CERF+ today!

Bennington Top-Ranked in Arts Vibrancy Index

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Bennington, Vermont: Quaint Vermont village, historical hot-spot, and top-ranked in National Center for Arts Research Arts Vibrancy Index! The recently published  NCAR Arts Vibrancy Index: Hotbeds of America’s Arts and Culture includes Bennington in the top 20 Arts Vibrant Medium and Small Cities, even ranking higher than its more well-known artsy neighbor to the North, Burlington VT. “Bennington, VT is home to a diverse population of visual artists who are community oriented and take part in public art projects, individual showings and non-profit events,” the article reports.”Visual artists, film makers, and musicians are drawn to the area.”

Craftproducers is proud to be a part of this community of Artists, Artisans, and Arts Supporters with our Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival.

A gorgeous day in Bennington, Vermont

A gorgeous day at the Art and Craft Festival in Bennington, Vermont

A New Year of Great Art and Craft Festivals!

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Happy New Year! At Craftproducers we are looking forward to a new year of successful and enjoyable Festivals. We have great things in store for 2015!

We begin the year with the Crafts Pavilion at the New England Home Shows in Boston and Foxborough, MA. These extremely popular home shows are augmented by the addition of a dedicated handmade art and craft section organized by Craftproducers. Fine art, clothing, fine furniture, and more will be on display. These shows are coming up quickly – Boston in February and Foxborough in March! You can find out more about the New England Home Shows here, and even buy tickets in advance.

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Craftproducers own fine Art and Craft Festivals begin June 19-21 in Saratoga Springs, NY with the Saratoga Balloon and Craft Festival. This is the second anniversary of this Festival which features over 150 fine art and craft Exhibitors set up in soaring Camelot tents. Specialty foods, food and beverages to eat on site (including beer and wine!), and live music create an exciting and festive atmosphere, and then of course there are the balloons! Hot air balloons will be launched each morning and evening (weather allowing – high winds can be dangerous and we are all about safety at the SBCF!) and tickets for this once in a lifetime experience can be purchased prior to the show at www.balloonandcraft.com. On Saturday and Sunday evenings the Festival will be open late for the magical Balloon Glow – over 15 tethered hot air balloons lit from within, with live music and concessions. Don’t miss it!

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Next up is the Southern Vermont Art and Craft Festival, July 31- August 2, a southern Vermont summer tradition that was moved from Manchester to Bennington three years ago. Bennington has proven a delightful home for the Festival, with a supportive arts community and easy access for visitors from the surrounding areas including Albany, Saratoga Springs and northern Massachusetts. Come meet and purchase fine handcrafted items from over 150 Exhibitors, enjoy great food and live music, and then explore lovely and historic Bennington, Vermont. This weekend kicks off the newly formed Bennington Art Week.

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Moving into Autumn, we have the 27th Annual Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival, October 2-4 in Manchester, Vermont. Surrounded by the green mountains with their flaming orange and gold foliage, the setting is nearly as impressive as the art and craftwork within the tents. The Manchester Fall Art and Craft Festival is an institution in southern Vermont. Formerly known as the Hildene Festival, the name and location have changed along the way but the quality and production of the Festival remain top-notch. Around 200 Exhibitors include fine art, furniture, clothing, jewelry, sculpture, photography, wood products, and more and many Exhibitors demonstrate their craft techniques in their booths. A separate tent is home to a selection of Specialty Food Exhibitors – jams and jellies, maple syrup, salsas, and locally distilled spirits and liqueurs. Head over to the Dining Tent when you need a break, sit down with a plate of great food and a glass of beer or wine, and enjoy live music until you are ready to shop once more!

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The Stowe Foliage Arts Festival is our northern Vermont equivalent to the Manchester show. Taking place the following weekend – October 9-11 – just outside the quaint village of Stowe, this Festival is usually right at the peak of the Vermont foliage color. Stowe is a destination year round, but if you want to experience a Vermont Autumn this is the time and place. 200 Exhibitors, Specialty Foods, craft demonstrations, great food and beverages, live music and entertainment combine to make this a not to be missed family weekend event. The Festival takes place at the Stowe Events Field, which is located on the Stowe Bike Path for easy access from the village and on up into the resort and mountains.

October Art and Craft Festival in Manchester Vermont

We end the 2015 Festival season with a brand new show! The First Ever Queen City Art and Craft Show in Manchester, New Hampshire will take place October 30-November 1. We look forward to sharing more details about this exciting new adventure soon!

Vermont Art and Craft Festivals and Events

We are beginning a new year with unlimited potential and we plan to make the most of it. We look forward to seeing you at our 2015 Fine Art and Craft Festivals!

Bennington is Back!

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Southern VT Art & Craft Festival, August 1-3 at Camelot Village in Bennington VT

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!