Studio Fair turns 50
As Studio Fair came to a close for another year, there was still hundreds of people wandering through the aisles late Sunday afternoon where more than 100 artisans had their wares showcased for sale.
The three-day event saw thousands crossing the Civic Centre threshold to find those treasured items for themselves or as gifts for their loved ones.
Studio Fair is the only juried art fair in northern B.C. and the quality of items reflected that.
“Numbers at Studio Fair have been fantastic,” Lisa Redpath, program manager at the Prince George and District Community Arts Council (CAC) which hosts the event, said.
“Every year the gate numbers keep going up. It just really shows you how much support Prince George has for the arts and our organization. We are in our 50th anniversary year so to have this happen once again – record breaking numbers – is just the cherry on top and we’re absolutely thrilled.”
This is a major fundraiser for the CAC and the money goes to the programs offered.
“It allows us to do what we do in the community and we all work together to build that vibrant arts and culture community,” she said.
One of the many new vendors at the fair this year included Dan Spratling and Wally Mitchell who are the creators of The Lemon Square from Vancouver. They make and sell lemon squares made with the entire lemon, including the zest to make them extra lemony and coconut that sits upon a graham cracker crust.
Spratling and Mitchell are on the craft show circuit and decided to add a stop in Prince George this year.
“We’re coming back next year,” Mitchell said. “Everyone is so friendly and nice.”
“We’re excited to be here,” Spratling chimed in as yet another customer approached the booth.
Mitchell said they saw other vendors that are on the circuit with them.
“It’s kind of like a community unto itself,” Mitchell explained. “And it’s always nice to come into a new market and meet new people. The organizers have been phenomenal and the fair is run like a well-oiled machine.”
MelonHead KnitWear from Vancouver was one of the many repeat vendors found at Studio Fair. It’s the eighth appearance for Carmen Craig-Martin, who hand dyes and hand spins wool to make her many creations, which are predominantly hats, with a few other items thrown in the mix.
Craig-Martin talked about seeing clients visit her eight years ago while they were expecting and making the purchase of a hat for their precious newborn-to-be. She sees them revisit every year to get another hat and this year people are bringing their eight-year-olds, and those families will continue to share bits and pieces of their lives with Craig-Martin as they pick their next woolen creation.
There’s lots of ‘see you next years’ in CraigMartin’s world as customer after customer returns year after year.
“Sunday afternoon at a craft show is craft madness,” Craig-Martin laughed.
“There’s something about this craft fair and something about Prince George. I do a lot of craft shows in a lot of towns but this one has the most loyal customer base. People wait all year to buy something from me and I don’t have that at a lot of other shows that I do, so that’s what makes this one so special. I feel like it’s family.”