With fall in full swing, crafters of all kinds gathered last weekend to showcase their handiwork at the three-day Autumn Leaves Craft Show at the Macon County Fairgrounds. There was no shortage of attendance either, with more than 1,000 people reportedly attending the event throughout Oct. 13-15.
Artists from around the region were readily available to discuss or even demonstrate their craft, while outside food vendors sold funnel cakes, lemonade, corn dogs and hot chocolate to good-spirited visitors. The sounds of the Nikwasi Dulcimer Players augmented the rustic atmosphere.
Lining the walkways inside the event itself were booths displaying the finest handcrafted goods made throughout Western North Carolina. Fabric purses and pouches, stone and woodcrafted benches and chairs, scented and decorated candles, handmade soaps and Appalachian photography were abundant at the show.
“It’s been a very good show this year,” said Anne Ooton, of Franklin-based Ann’s Designs, who specializes in the making of hand-sewn household items like pot holders and place mats. “People seem to be in need of the things we have to offer—the things that people use,” she said. Andrea Richards, of D. Richie Photography, set up a booth at the show along with her crafting partner
Angela Wyatt, selling hand crafted children’s accessories and decorations. “We’ve had some great business,” said Richards. “So far a lot of people have come out.” Wyatt echoed Richards, adding that organizers did a remarkable job laying out and promoting the event.
“Business is up from last year,” said local holiday arrangement crafter Bonnie Wallace. “It’s been fantastic. I think a lot of people are looking to shop closer to home.” Wallace said that her inventory comes out only a few times a year, selling holiday items like wreathes and gift boxes during the fall and winter months.
Debbie Smathers, of Franklin, said that the show provided some great prices on holiday stocking stuffers, as she made purchases from the dozens of booths she had perused on Saturday afternoon. “Where else are you going to find items like this? Everything here is unique in itself and has character.”
According to Franklin resident and event organizer Vicki Rammel, of Purrsnickity Cat Crafters, the event was a considerable success. “This show’s been around for 20 years and it’s been very good this year,” she said, remarking that Friday’s show was slow, however, Thursday and Saturday saw an adequate public turnout. “The main goal of this show isn’t to make money, but to show what locals can make. I appreciate everyone that shows up to these events. We want to keep things local.”
Rammel noted that on Saturday alone, approximately 400 people had come through the craft show, and more than 1,000 had attended the event throughout its entirety.