Stu­dio Fair turns 50

The Prince George Citizen - - Local | Weather - Chris­tine HINZMANN Ci­ti­zen staff chinz­[email protected]­i­t­i­

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.”

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