Unglued Craft Fest and Gala
The indie craft event of the season arrives when dozens of artists and artisans take over the Plains Art Museum for the annual Unglued Craft Fest.
This isn’t your grandma’s craft fair — although you should definitely invite her, because she’ll probably like it. The Unglued Craft Fest showcases artists and craftspeople who put their own stamp on traditional methods — or invent innovative new methods — and create unique and often handmade and upcycled items with a modern twist.
If you’ve ever been to the brick and mortar Unglued store, you should definitely check out the Craft Fest that started it all.
“The Craft Fest is really who Unglued is,” says Unglued owner Ashley Morken. “This is our third annual Fest coming up and we started it never imagining a shop happening. We started the Fest to give modern and indie crafters an audience that was primed and excited about their products, all in one spot.”
Shoppers are definitely excited. Interest in the event has grown so much since its launch in 2010 that they’ve expanded the festivities to include a ticketed preview event, The Craft Gala, on Friday.
Customers who purchase a ticket will enjoy live music, appetizers, a free drink and a more relaxed and exclusive shopping experience.
The main event is the free Craft Fest on Saturday and there’s plenty to do and see, even for those who have already done their shopping on Friday night.
The doors open at 9 a.m. and I recommend getting there early because the first 100 attendees will receive swag bags, coupons, a chance to score $20 in Unglued cash to be redeemed any booth at the Fest and fabulous coffee from Dunn Bros.
The atmosphere at the Craft Fest is fantastic. In addition to chatting up your favorite artists, you can stroll the galleries for free and enjoy live music, craft demos, workshops and children’s activities throughout the day.
Tanna Hill creates these adorable little felt animals for her Hill Critters line and she says the vendors have just as much fun at the event as the shoppers do.
“I love being around creative, unique, geeky art nerds (like myself) and seeing all the creative, unique, geeky artwork they have made,” she says. “The energy and vibe are so fantastic at the Unglued Craft Fest. 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 creators of Unglued Craft Fest have done an amazing job of creating such a fun, inviting and inspiring atmosphere,” agrees Dana Holscher, the creator of the Botny jewelry line. “Everyone is happy, having a great time, listening to live music play…and you’re surrounded by art, crafts and people who thoroughly enjoy supporting local artists.”
I’ve found that the atmosphere — especially talking to the artists and watching them work — makes me enjoy and connect with my purchases in a way that I wouldn’t otherwise.
This makes the vendors and the Craft Fest planners happy, because providing customers with this personal connection with the product is exactly what they’re all striving for.
“We’re constantly surrounded by manufactured items and mass-produced commodities,” says AAENDEE accessories designer Ashley Dedin. “Rarely do we come into contact with objects that force us to take a moment and consider their source. Fine arts and handmade goods give us an opportunity to connect with objects that we — unfortunately — don’t typically think twice about.”
“It is a special feeling to own and wear something that’s one-of-a-kind,” says Holscher. “And knowing that someone’s own two hands personally made that item is even more special.”
What about you? What do you love about Unglued Craft Fest? Which other handmade marketplaces would you recommend? What handmade products do you love? What’s on your shopping list for the market?
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