20th annual Foothills Craft Fair at Blue Ridge BBQ Festival

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, June 2, 2016

The annual craft fair at the BBQ Festival draws contemporary and traditional crafters to Harmon Field.  (Photo by Paula Roberts)

The annual craft fair at the BBQ Festival draws contemporary and traditional crafters to Harmon Field. (Photo by Paula Roberts)

The Blue Ridge Barbecue & Music Festival, held this year on June 10 and 11 at Harmon Field in Tryon, N.C., has grown to be one of the finest food festivals in the country. Interestingly, one of the main reasons for this is that it’s not just about food.

One component that helps sets the event apart from other outdoor food festivals is its outstanding arts and crafts show, the Foothills Arts & Craft Festival. In its 20th year, this show has become known for the range and quality of items for sale. It is juried to bring in the best contemporary and traditional crafters as well as fine artists.

Julie McIntyre, crafts fair chair, said that this year the fair will include potters, metalworkers, jewelers, wood and leatherworkers, basket weavers, fabric and clothing artists, glass artists, a furniture maker, and soap and fragrance makers, and more.

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“It is always a pleasure to welcome back our returning artists and to meet new artists with new and different products. This year is particularly notable for the wide range of arts and crafts represented,” she said.

Since each item must be hand made by the exhibiting artisan, the Foothills Craft Fair presents a great opportunity for visitors to talk to exhibitors and learn about the artistic process. Some crafters demonstrate their skills while at the fair, and many are willing accept special orders.

McIntyre indicated that many festivalgoers get a head start on their Christmas shopping at the craft fair each year. For a preview of what will be available, visit BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com, and click on Craft Fair. There you’ll find a listing of crafters, and most have additional information as well.

The show has established a reputation for quality, variety, and accessibility. Visitors wander in and out of the exhibitor booths along the Pacolet River and find excellent pieces at affordable prices. Artists and craftsmen understand that their works should be priced to sell and, as a result, this fair tends to please both exhibitors and attendees. Approximately 40 artists will be participating this year.

The festival also includes a fantastic lineup of music on two stages, a kids fun park with carnival rides and games for kids of all ages and, of course, outstanding barbecue with all the trimmings—plus other non barbecue foods, including selections for vegetarians.

On Saturday there will be a huge classic car show sponsored by First Citizens Bank. Also on Saturday the grand finale fireworks show will delight the crowd after dark.

Gates open at 10 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. Everybody gets in free on Friday from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. and can stay as long as they wish.

As a special thank you for years of support for the festival, all residents of Polk County and Landrum (zip code 29356) get in free all day Friday with ID showing home address. Active duty service men and women are always free with military ID. Admission includes shuttle parking and all live entertainment.

Visit BlueRidgeBBQFestival.com for more information.

– article submitted
by Brenda Bradshaw