Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands

Craft Fair of the Southern HighlandIf you missed the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands this fall, you’ll have to watch for it in the summer. This fair takes place twice a year and is a feast for the eyes and for every artist’s creative juices. It took place here in Asheville from October 17-20 and will take place again next July. It takes place at the US Cellular Center and includes over 200 craftspeople on two levels at the center.

The Fair first began in 1948 as a way to open a regional market for mountain craftspeople. They typically have 20,000 visitors who come through each year. While showcasing the beautiful work of many artists, the fair also hosts craft demonstrations. As they explain on the website for the fair,

“In addition to providing a retail market for juried members, the Guild also hosts craft demonstrations during the Fairs.  A strong part of the Guild’s mission is to educate the public about the history of crafts in this region, various craft techniques, and an appreciation for fine crafts.  Visitors have the opportunity to see artists using traditional methods of handmade craft like George McCollum weaving a white oak basket, beginning with splints he has harvested from the tree, or seeing Sam Johnson make bamboo fly rods, or Betsy Morrill’s innovative deconstructed screen-printing on fabric.”

Demonstrations at the fair in October included” Mike Lalone in pottery, George McCollum with white oak baskets, Betsy Morrill with screen-printing on fabric and Dede Styles with antural dyeing and spinning.

There is also great musical entertainment at the fair each season. During the October fair, musicians included: Sherri Lynn and Mountain Friends, Hot Duck Soup, Crane Creek Bluegrass Band, Southern Crescent Bluegrass, Split Rail, Moore Brothers Band and more.

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