A variety of handcrafted items will be available for purchase at the annual Craft Show & Sale at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, including pottery, home and holiday decor, jewelry, knitted items and quilts. Photograph Contributed
If you’re wanting to find something unique and not easily purchased at a big chain store for your loved one this holiday season, the 32nd annual Holiday Craft Show & Sale might be just the place to pick up the perfect gift.
Alicia Phelps, director of tourism and marketing for the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and organizer for the craft show, said the show –– going on Nov. 8 and 9 –– originated after Jonesborough became known for its local craftsman.
“For a long time, it fell on the Black Friday weekend and a couple of years ago we moved it and it seemed to be a good decision,” Phelps said. “That late in the season it was ... kind of irrelevant to purchase anything for fall, with it being almost December. We moved it to the second week in November mainly because of requests from folks coming to the show, as well as from crafts vendors. It’s really worked out quite well because the craft vendors can showcase more than just holiday and winter items. They can also now do fall items and folks can get ... decorations and things for Thanksgiving, too.”
This year’s show will host around 40 vendors in each of the three market areas at the visitors center. The main market area, located in the auditorium, will house many of the vendors, and an accessories market place will also be set up on the grounds for items that fall within that category.
Craft show vendors, as well as a few food vendors, will also be setting up booths outside around the grounds and in the parking lot area.
Phelps said each year the craft shows increases in attendance on average about 200 people and said they had several vendors locally and out-of-state wanting to show their items.
“There’s a variety of different things that folks showcase. From pottery, lots of jewelry and accessories, scarves, a lot of hand-knitted items, home decor, wreaths, to fudge,” she said. “There’s just a really neat variety this year. I think this year we’ve had the most new vendors than we’ve had before. It’s definitely been the first time that I’ve been organizing it that we’ve had vendors from as far away as South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.
“We’re excited to hear that the craft vendor base has reached out well-beyond that three-hour drive radius, and I think that will hopefully expand into the patrons that will come to this show, too.”
While many of the crafts are handmade or handcrafted –– such as the basket weaver expected at this year’s show –– Phelps said some of the vendors might even do some demonstrations of their craft for those in attendance.
“We’ve partnered up with Storybrook Farm Bed and Breakfast here in Jonesborough,” she said. “They’re having a Celtic society scarecrow contest and that’s with the East Tennessee Celtic Society. They’re going to have scarecrow building.”
Those attending the craft show will be able to board a free shuttle to Storybrook Farm for the scarecrow building and festivities, and also will have opportunities to stop in downtown Jonesborough to eat and shop.
According to a news release, basic scarecrow building materials will be provided to youth and adult participants and an entry fee of $3 for adults and $1 for kids 14 and under will be assessed for the contest.
Activities at Storybrook Farm will take place from 1-4 p.m., according to the release.
As for the craft show itself, Phelps said the annual event is a “warm, fun and festive atmosphere. Everybody’s having a good time. We’re just so appreciative of the folks that do come because they’re supporting local and they’re buying local.
“We definitely have almost a line at the door when the show opens on Friday and even on Saturday. We’ll have folks coming back for their second time because they saw something they didn’t get and they just have to have it.
“I really feel like this year’s probably going to be our most successful year just because of the buzz I’ve heard about it and ... the amount of craft vendors wanting to be in the show that have heard about it from just all over. We’re really excited to be putting this on for the 32nd year,” she said.
Admission to the show is $1 for adults and free for kids 12 and under. The show will run both days from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. inside the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center and Old Town Emporium.