Craft­ing in the rain

The Weekly Vista - - Front Page - LYNN ATKINS [email protected]

It’s all about be­ing pre­pared, ven­dor Howard Ter­rell said, look­ing out where a hand­ful of shop­pers picked their way along a muddy path hud­dled un­der um­brel­las on Fri­day. He’s been com­ing to the Bella Vista Craft Fair for 20 years in a va­ri­ety of weather.

Jim Ras­mussen re­mem­bers a fair where it was storm­ing so badly that he saw one of the tents wrapped around a tele­phone pole — about halfway up, he said.

“It hurts to lose a day,” he said. “This is what we do for a liv­ing, so it hurts.” But he knows he won’t be able to re­turn to the fair next year if he fails to open his booth each of the three days this year. Luck­ily, the prints he sells are not hurt by the damp­ness.

Betty Bittick was in­side one of the big tents and was warn­ing ev­ery­one who walked by about the mud pud­dle in the mid­dle of the aisle. She had a good day on Thurs­day and ex­pected an­other on Satur­day. She likes the Bella Vista fair.

“You don’t see buy-sell stuff,” she said, re­fer­ring to items some ven­dors pur­chase and then re­sell. It’s hard for some­one who makes their crafts by hand to com­pete with some­one who buys and then sells, she said. She only goes to about three shows a year, and Bella Vista is her fa­vorite.

Sarah Rus­sell and Jeanne Har­mon were part of a group of eight who have been com­ing to the craft fair to­gether for sev­eral years. They rent a house in Bella Vista and stay from Tues­day to Satur­day. They be­lieve in com­ing pre­pared for any­thing.

“We’ve been here when it’s cold and we’ve been here when it’s hot,” Har­mon said.

“At least it’s not crowded,” Rus­sell added.

Brenda and Mike Woods are happy to have a prod­uct that isn’t hurt by rain. Their floor cloths — like a rug but much thin­ner — are very durable.

Three years ago, they were set up dur­ing a rain­storm at War Ea­gle Mill. It rained so hard, their

tent “im­ploded,” Mike Woods said. The tent was de­stroyed, but their prod­ucts were fine.

Scott Ben­nett said he was there to fol­low his wife, Lisa Ben­nett, around. She’s been com­ing for 30 years — she knows it’s that long be­cause she missed a fair 31 years ago when she was hav­ing a baby. The Ben­netts live in Pitts­burg, Kan., and Scott Ben­nett didn’t al­ways come along but now they have chil­dren liv­ing in this area. Af­ter vis­it­ing their kids tonight, they’ll move on to the War Ea­gle Fair to­mor­row.

Steve Green was hav­ing his best day so far. He sells hand­made blan­kets so the wet, cool weather ac­tu­ally helped.

A new tent this year, the Vil­lage Art Club Tent, had a good day on Thurs­day, fair di­rec­tor Elaine Reinke said. She had 28 of the artists who ex­hibit in Wish­ing Spring Gallery par­tic­i­pate. Oth­ers didn’t want to move their mer­chan­dise to the tent, she said.

Reinke said that the fair wouldn’t close un­less the Bella Vista Po­lice asked her to close it. If there was a thun­der­storm with light­ning, the po­lice might de­cide it wasn’t safe to be there, she said, but if it’s only rain, they will re­main open.

Wrapped up in a quilt, sur­rounded by fur­ni­ture her hus­band makes, Kristi Howard said they did a good busi­ness on Thurs­day and they ex­pect Satur­day to be good as well.

“We didn’t lose any­thing ex­cept our dig­nity,” she said.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

Sandy Prill looks at her phone while wait­ing for cus­tomers at her booth, Prills Pea­cock Glass. She buys in­ex­pen­sive glass­ware at thrift shops and re­cy­cles it.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

The only sun to be found was in­side a booth dur­ing Fri­day’s craft fair.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

Sam­ples of hot soup were pop­u­lar dur­ing a rainy lunch hour at the Bella Vista Craft Fair.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

Patti Gold and her daugh­ter Jan Everly dressed for the weather be­fore their an­nual trip to the craft fairs. They live about an hour away.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

Brenda and Mike Woods call their floor cloths “func­tional art.” Rain won’t hurt it, Mike Woods said.

Lynn Atkins/The Weekly Vista

In­side the tents, crafts stayed dry, but the crowd was much smaller than usual on Fri­day.

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