Rain doesn’t stop Chiaha
Clear, cool weather expected for festival today
Rain held crowds down somewhat at the outset of the 53rd edition of the Chiaha Harvest Fair on Saturday, but longtime volunteer Buzz Wachsteter said all that did was give customers a little more time to spend with their favorite artisans. “Liquid sunshine never hurts, but you can still find the great art and they’re not as busy, so it’s even better for avid shoppers,” Wachsteter said.
Sandy Thomas from Cape Coral, Florida, visited Chiaha for the first time last year and made sure she timed her visit this fall to coincide with Chiaha.
She was bundled up in a waterproof parka and said the cool temperature and light rain wasn’t bothering her at all as she and cousin Gail Thomas wandered from booth to booth.
Janet Byington, another longtime Chiaha volunteer, said that the weather for today looks great for the fair, which raises
funds each year to benefit the local arts community, including scholarships
and support for art programs in the local schools.
Admission to Chiaha Harvest Fair, open Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. is $5 for adults, $4 for students and seniors, and $1 for children under 12. There is no charge for parking at Ridge Ferry Park for the event.
Wachsteter, who has been a volunteer with Chiaha for more than 30 years, said it was a combination of factors that makes Chiaha one of the most popular arts and crafts shows in the Southeast. “It’s the people, the artists, the weather — because you never know what it’s going to be — the hot cider and the camaraderie,” Wachsteter said.
Rome woodcarver William Mann took advantage of a light rain to do some carving under his tent.
“I do a lot of handcarved wooden utensils, spoons, cutting boards, ladles, wooden puzzles in the shape of animals,” Mann said. I take live edge wood and make lamps.”
Mann said Chiaha was his very first show and now he does it every year. “I do other ones randomly based on how busy I am,” Mann said. He said Chiaha was usually one of his more successful sales events each year as well.
Shannon potter Shelby West has been a part of the Chiaha Harvest Fair for 12 years and has managed to stake the same booth site every year. “I have a lot of repeat people and they know I’m local. Having this exact same spot helps out a little bit,” West said.
Shelby West, a potter from Shannon, has occupied the same booth space at the Chiaha Harvest Fair for years.
Wood carver William Mann of Rome works on some of his hand-carved items under his tent Saturday in Ridge Ferry Park.
Ken Pharoah looks at some of Lynette Phillips’ pottery.