Experience Tradition at the Annual Craftsmen’s Fair
This annual event from the League of NH Craftsmen is an 88-year favorite
Summers in New Hampshire are often punctuated by weekend trips to the Seacoast or the mountains for laidback summer fun. But what if you’d like your trek to be more pilgrimage than party?
That’s exactly what’s offered by a visit this August to the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen’s 88th Annual Craftsmen’s Fair.
Held at Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, the fair has been an important journey for artists and art lovers in New Hampshire for more than eight decades. Around 25,000 visitors come to the fair each year, and more than a third come from outside the Granite State.
In addition to the physical pilgrimage required to get to the event — the resort, while only 45 minutes northwest of Concord, is perched on a 2,700-foot mountain — a trip to the fair instills in visitors a keen awareness of the history of which they’re becoming a part. The event is the oldest continually running craft fair in the United States and, with 200 participating artists per year, a huge community of creatives have made it a crucial part of their lives and careers. Although the craft booths will be spaced out a bit more to give fairgoers a little more room, this year’s event will have all the dynamic look and feel of the iconic annual New Hampshire arts event.
Visitors have the unique opportunity to talk with the artisans while they shop, allowing them to take in the stories behind the art and take home items that will be far more than a decoration to toss on the mantel.
“Our members have spent more than a year working diligently and many have explored new ways to express their creativity. People will likely see things they have never seen before,” says Miriam Carter, executive director of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. “It has been a long and difficult path to get here. This past year has been deeply challenging for all of us, and the journey will be reflected in the passion of our members’ work. We invite everyone to reconnect with the League and rejoin a critical part of our state’s creative economy.”
This year, the fair will feature more than 300 exhibitors, the Art, Craft & Design and Sculpture Garden Exhibitions, and opportunities to watch members demonstrate and learn more about the processes that go into creating beautiful handmade items in a variety of mediums.
The fair returns to the idyllic setting of the Mount Sunapee Resort in Newbury, where attendees can soak in the inspiring work of the craftsmen and enjoy delicious food provided by specialty food vendors, such as Thai, wood-fired pizza and smoothies, as well as new food and beverage offerings by the Mount Sunapee Resort.
If you’re ready to make your first (or your 50th) visit to the fair this year, you can expect nine days of shopping, events and several acres full of locally-made crafts to enjoy. From August 7-15, trade an aimless day trip to the beach for a trip to a historical event that will bring art into your home and community into your heart.
“There will be plenty of tears, but they will certainly be joyful as our members, many of whom have known each other for many years, can finally gather again face to face,” says Carter. “This is a special group of people, who had to be innovative and resourceful to stay in business, just like others who weathered the pandemic. This is a way of life for so many people in New England and I am thrilled and honored to once again host this event.”
Masks are optional for this event and attendees who have not been vaccinated are encouraged to wear a mask. Tickets are available online at nhcrafts.org. Online ticket holders will experience a shorter time in line, and quick movement through the gates.