Centennial Park September 23–25
by Bob Paxman
The Fall Tennessee Craft Fair, a Nashville arts staple since 1978, cuts a magnificent, circular sprawl throughout Centennial Park. With more than 200 artisans displaying everything from functional wooden spoons to decorative pottery, jewelry, and leather goods, there is certainly plenty of ground for the visitor to cover.
Angela Wiggins, Communications Manager at Tennessee Craft which hosts the annual Craft Fair, serves up a few suggestions for making your day at the fair a breezy walk in the park. “There are a couple of things people can do to get ready to go to the fair,” Wiggins notes. “A lot of people don’t know this, but we have a virtual fair on our website that’s up about two weeks before the fair starts. It’s a map layout of the fair. Every artist who has a booth is on there. And if you are looking for something in particular like pottery, you can search for that. There are images of the artists’ works and their website information so you can find out more about the artists. If you can do some pre-shopping and see the layout, you’ll get around more easily.”
A game plan is definitely helpful. “The ideal time to spend at the Fall Tennessee Craft Fair is about four hours, if you really want the full experience,” Wiggins says. “So, dress comfortably and wear good walking shoes. The way we lay out the fair, the shopper is going to see a broad range of crafts. There are paintings and photographs, lots of metal sculptures for walls, and blown glass. We also have an artist who makes bags out of recycled seat belts,” Wiggins adds. Artists hailing from distant points such as Boston and San Francisco participate in the national juried fair.
Nashville pottery artist Catherine McMurray, who produces decorative teapots, small mugs, and other items from her Turning Grace Studio, embraces the Fall Craft Fair’s diversity. “It’s really important to your business because you get to share space with these wonderfully creative people from all over the country,” says McMurray, who has taken part in “at least five” previous fairs. “To me, it’s the best fair in terms of layout and the range of artists.”
To find out more about the Fall Tennessee Craft Fair, please visit www.tennesseecraft.org.