When I was a kid, I remember watching my Nanny (maternal grandmother) make hundreds upon thousands of little crafty bits for God-knows-what reason. Had I been a little older, I would've probably encouraged her to enter a craft show. I think she made them, though, out of compulsion. When she passed away, my mother and I inherited close to 30 Xerox boxes of yarn, thousands of little cross stitch kits that had been marked down at craft stores all over the area (she had a "buy it because it's on sale" compulsion, too), and little projects she had either started and/or finished such as blankets, doilies, crocheted snowflakes, refrigerator magnets (I still have two! See the orange men below!) and hair clips. My Nanny was a craft store, for all intents and purposes, and she is my inspiration should I ever open a craft store of my own. I won't sell half-made projects, though. And I'll probably keep things a little more organized.
The point of all of this rambling is that my Nanny should've entered craft shows. People would've purchased her stuff en masse and I could've been one of those cool kids who hung out with their grandma at craft shows. Despite her lack of exposure on the local show circuit, I've somehow developed a deep love for craft shows. Any excuse for me to buy something small, cute and exquisitly handmade for myself or a loved one is an immeasurable delight. I've found that there are a handful of shows that I love to go to in this area, especially as the holiday season grows closer, and I've compiled the list here for you.
Adams Morgan Day Festival - Sunday September 14
I realize that, as of today, this festival is over. Last year I participated as a member of the DC Craft Mafia (DCCM), and it was my first EVER show as a crafter. I had a great time, sold lots of stuff and loved the outdoor, social, neighborhoody feel of it.
Barracks Row Oktoberfest - Saturday September 27
This takes place yearly in my favorite Capitol Hill neighborhood. The shop owners come out to play and there is a decent assortment of local crafters and artisans. This is a great way to experience a unique area in DC, all within walking distance of Eastern Market, a year-round food and art market with rich roots in DC.
Crafty Bastards - Sunday September 28
While I'll probably never be brave enough to apply for Crafty Bastards, it is THE best show in the DC Metro area. Artists and crafters come from ALL over, it seems, to share and sell their wares. There is an enormous assortment of stuff available...from jewelry to clothes, to pet products and soap. It's hosted by the Washington City Paper.
Art on the Avenue - Sunday October 4
Del Ray is another one of my favorite neighborhoods and this is their annual celebration of art, music and fun. It sort of ushers in autumn for a lot of people, especially locals. Last year I was able to find an awesome assortment of crafts, from the typical and traditional to the avant garde and unusual. There's lot of delicious food and entertainment, too.
Ballston Arts & Crafts Market - Saturday October 11
This is a monthly market that runs from the spring to fall every year. I participated once last year with the DCCM and had a great time. It can be busy or it can be slow, but there is live music and it's a great assortment of local crafters. It's gaining notoriety this year, too, by hosting crafters such as my blog buddy Dandelion Blu!
Clifton Day - Sunday October 12 (Rain: October 19)
This is one of those festivals that simultaneously throws you back in time and makes you feel like a kid again. There are games, entertainment, cotton candy and kettle corn...cheesy flea market things to purchase and fine, rare antiques. Basically, you have the freedom to roam one of Northern Virginia's oldest towns and enjoy everything it has to offer (including hills...wear good shoes!).
DCCM UNusual Suspects Holiday Craft Fair- Sunday November 2
I'm a former member of the DCCM but I still love them so! Head on over to their holiday craft show and sale at the Anastasi Room in Bethesda for a faboo crafters market. Close to 50 vendors will show their wares with everything from clothes to jewelry, toys to knick knacks. The DCCM manages to pull in some pretty kick ass crafters for this event and it's truly a lot of fun.
Holiday Heap - Saturday November 15
I've always wanted to hit up the Charm City Craft Mafia's event. Maybe I will this year! Baltimore is a wonderland of homemade delights, between the CCCM and BEST. Go Bawlmer!
Fairfax Holiday Craft Show - Saturday November 15 & Sunday November 16
This is the show that my Nanny would've been in had she been in craft shows. This has everything from cheesy painted wood signs to handblown glass ornaments. There's a huge selection available here and it's open for two days, which ensures you won't miss a single second of it!
Do you have a favorite show? Let me/us know in the comments!