A battalion of tents and tables mark the return of the annual Craft Fair to Main Street in Placerville, on Sunday, Aug. 12, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. From women’s’ chillits to wind chimes, carved spoons to garden gnomes, eager entrepreneurs showcase their handmade wares up and down the closed-off street.
Sponsor of the event is the Placerville Downtown Association, the collective business voice of Main Street merchants. Sheila Hill (of Powell’s Steamer Co. and Pub) is the president this year. “It’s a big deal,” she said as she scans the vendor placement scheme. “It takes a village, you know. Actually, it takes Lisa.”
That would be Lisa Crummett, the marketing director and longtime champion of the event.
“After 15 seasons, we’ve figured out how it works,” Crummett said. “We signed up about 100 vendors this year. And we’re expecting nearly 3,000 visitors.” She pauses. “The secret is product variety.”
Vendors are usually out-of-towners, industrious types who can design, construct, make inventories, transport and manage display productions. They produce a staggering array of goods. Quilts, ceramics, garden art, stained glass, headbands, birdhouses, raku pottery, wood bowls, handbags. She looks up from the list. “And a ton more — original gift ideas,” she said.
To qualify for the fair, products must be handmade. Nothing imported or funneled from a factory.
“We try to be diligent when jurying the craft items,” Crummett said.” But we’re not perfect.”
Crummett thinks about some of more popular vendors.
“Jewelry is right up there. It runs the gamut from fashion to fine and draws a ton of women shoppers,” she said.
Victoria Perez Mott from Upstairs Art Gallery and Iron Willow Gallery would agree. Her unusual designs are fashioned through flame-work (torch), producing Italian glass beads which become necklaces, bracelets and rings.
The Craft Fair is a productive venue for photography as well.
Gold Country Artists Gallery photographers Bill Robinson and Paul Cockrell look forward to showing their work.
“I do landscapes, automobiles and flowers,” said Robinson, a retired tech writer. “I put the flower photos through a computer process and they come out looking like paintings. We’ve had success in the gallery, but this is my first time as a vendor, ” admitted the affable artist who also serves as secretary of the downtown association. “And I’m really excited for everybody.”
Paul Cockrell, a noted landscape photographer said, “It’s great exposure, pardon the pun.”
The business owners along Main Street enthusiastically welcome the outside vendors who bring the crowds.
“A few thousand visitors to Placerville benefits everybody,” noted Crummett. There will be food vendors, of course, “but just a few. We have our own restaurants.”