The third annual Unglued Craft Fest takes over the Plains Art Museum on Friday, February 22 and Saturday, February 23, as 65 talented artists and craftspeople sell their unique -- and often handmade and recycled -- creations directly to consumers.
“The Craft Fest is a way for crafters to get out there and meet their audience,” said founder Ashley Morken. “We started the Fest to give modern and indie crafters an audience that was primed and excited about their products, all in one spot.”
Interest in the event has grown so much since its inception in 2010 that the founders have added a ticketed preview event, The Craft Gala, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m on Friday, February 22. Customers who purchase a $10 ticket at the door will enjoy live jazz music, appetizers and a free drink while they shop the more exclusive event.
The main event is the free Craft Fest on Saturday, February 23 and there’s plenty to do, even for those who have already done their shopping on Friday night. The doors open at 9 a.m. and the first 100 attendees will receive swag bags, a chance to win $20 in Unglued Cash to be redeemed at the booth of their choice and fresh Dunn Bros. coffee. Shoppers will also enjoy live music, craft demos, workshops and kids' activities throughout the day.
The electric atmosphere of the Craft Fest is a major draw, both for shoppers and for the vendors themselves. “The creators of Unglued Craft Fest have done an amazing job of creating such a fun, inviting and inspiring atmosphere,” said vendor Dana Holscher, who launched her jewelry line, Botny, at the first Unglued Craft Fest and will be returning for the third year.
Tanna Hill, another veteran vendor and creator of Hill Critters plush animals agrees. “The energy and vibe are so fantastic at the Unglued Craft Fest,” said Hill. “There is no rivalry, no competition -- everyone is there to be creative, to buy creative and to support each other. It is an amazing event to be a part of.”
The event’s popularity has become one of its biggest challenges. “This will be our third year,” said Morken, “and one of the biggest changes is the increasing number of crafters applying who fit the vision we have for the fest…which makes the jurying process even more difficult.”
Ashley Dedin, who creates ties, wallets, pocket squares and necklaces for her AENDEE accessories line is one of those new vendors who eagerly awaited the call.
“To be honest,” said Dedin, “I didn’t think that I would be accepted because I’m really new to the crafting scene and I know that there are some seriously talented artists and craftspeople in our region. But I was so pleased when I was accepted and am both excited and nervous to put my goods out there at the Fest.”
For Morken, watching the vendors and the audience grow are equally rewarding.
“My favorite part is seeing the success of these crafters’ individual creative businesses and seeing the audience grow,” she said.
For their part, the vendors are quick to credit both the Craft Fest and the public for their success.
“A lot of us crafters wouldn’t be out of our studios if it weren’t for the community pouring their hearts out to us," said Hill. “It’s awesome.”
The Unglued Craft Gala
5 p.m. - 8 p.m.
$10 at the door
The Unglued Craft Fest
9 a.m. - 5 p.m