Crafts take center stage at the festival: Apple Harvest Festival craft fair draws thousands

Apple Harvest Festival visitors browse the wide variety of crafts and collectibles last weekend when the annual Arts and Crafts fair spills into the parking lot behind the main stage. The 2017 festival came to an end on Sunday, and the only thing left on the town green are memories of one of the most successful festivals in recent years.

By SHERIDAN CYR

STAFF WRITER

The annual Apple Harvest Festival craft fair set up shop in the Bank of America parking lot for Saturday and Sunday. The second week of the festival added more than 50 tents to the festival map, each with something unique to offer.

Curious guests could find paintings, soda can airplanes, handmade salsa, make-your-own-jewelry stations, Christmas ornaments, eyeglass cleaner, wine smoothies, clothing, painted glassware—there was no end in sight to colorful, creative wonders.

Janet Derwin was thrilled to be a part of the craft fair this year in her first big festival as a vendor. The sweet aroma of her handcrafted soaps and bath bombs drew in a crowd Saturday morning.

Vendors from Whole Harmony Apothecary answer questions about their artisan teas.

“I just love the creative outlook of it. There are so many options, and it’s so satisfying to see all the different kinds I can make,” said Derwin. “I was really nervous about this at first, but I’m having a lot of fun.”

Stephen Schmidt’s tent showed off beautiful seascape paintings and handmade frames, along with some pieces of furniture.

“This festival is a fun show to do,” said Schmidt, who has been participating in festivals for almost 30 years. “It’s always a great crowd, and I usually do pretty well.”

Kristen Clark, with the help of family members, was excited to be back in action at the 49th AHF. Two years ago, her tent won first place for best new crafts.

“I’m a teacher, so making these crafts is how I relax in the summer time. It’s my ‘crafting season,’” said Clark. Her tent offered a multitude of items including scarves, blankets, cards and light boxes.

Jen Koziol and mother represented their company, “Touch of Purple.” This purple spray bottle contained what could only be described as magic.

“Just spray a little of this stuff on glasses, phone screens, television screens, windows, even ceiling fans and it will clean it right off,” said Koziol. She then put the spray to action on her phone screen. After one wipe, it shimmered, and even repelled her fingerprints.

Tracey Bentz, coordinator of the craft fair, was pleased with this year’s operation.

“I’ve had vendors calling me telling me it was their best year yet,” she said. “It’s hard to say an exact headcount since we don’t charge admission, but I will say that that place was packed.”

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.

Photos by SHERIDAN CYR

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