By Zach Hagadone
It’s the 47th year for the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Arts & Crafts Fair, but only the second in which the annual event has taken place in downtown Sandpoint.
From Saturday, Aug. 10-Sunday, Aug. 11, more than 100 arts and crafts vendors drawn from throughout the West — from the Northwest all the way down to Arizona — and as far afield as New York, will fill four square blocks: on Second Avenue north to south from Cedar to Church streets and on Main Street east to west from First to Third avenues. The fair runs 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sunday.
Since its move from City Beach in 2018, the event has only grown bigger.
“I think everybody was a little nervous about it,” POAC Executive Director Hannah Combs said of the relocation to downtown last year. “But it was really easy to access and we’ve definitely seen our number of vendors go up.”
Coinciding with the second and final weekend of the Festival at Sandpoint, the Arts & Crafts Fair pitches its tents during one of the busiest weekends of the year in Sandpoint. Drawing between 3,500 and 4,000 attendees, its downtown location draws strength from its proximity to the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market, which is open concurrently to the west at Farmin Park and surrounds.
“We’re excited to be in the same general space as the Farmers’ Market again this year,” Combs said. “It’s fun to see people go to get their veggies, then walk down the block to see the arts and crafts.”
Vendors will offer everything from jewelry to woodworking to fiber arts, metal smithing, sculpture, ceramics, photography, paintings, mixed media, wood crafts “and everything in between,” Combs added. About one-third of the vendors hail from Sandpoint.
The crowd-favorite belly dancers will perform at the southwest corner of Second Avenue and Main Street in front of U.S. Bank. Food vendors Azar’s Greek Restaurant, based in Spokane; Sandpoint-based Mandala Wood Fired Pizza; The Lemonade Sisters from Bonners Ferry; and Sweet Maggie’s, which will feature macarons, cannolis and assorted desserts, will be located on Main Street near the public fountain, along with the POAC info booth and vendor hospitality area.
Live music will be available at the nearby Farmers’ Market, which hosts Bright Moments on Saturday, Aug. 10, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., and the 219 Lounge, with Bare Grass on Saturday, Aug. 10, 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
Admission is free to the fair, but access to a special art area set up in the U.S. Bank parking lot costs $5 (open to kids 12 and under). All proceeds from the fair go to support POAC’s programs in visual and performing arts and art education, but the impact on downtown is much larger.
“We did hear from a lot of business owners on First Avenue and the surrounding area say that they had a lot of people walk in during last year’s fair,” Combs said.
To see a list of vendors and a map of the 2019 POAC Arts & Crafts Fair, go to artinsandpoint.org/arts-crafts-fair. For more information call 208-263-6139 or email [email protected].
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