Arts and craft festival draws a crowd to downtown Wilmore

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, October 11, 2023

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Crispy leaves crinkled under visitors’ feet on their way to Wilmore’s Main Street for the 24th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival last Saturday.

According to attendees and vendors alike, the festival was a success as the streets were lined with dozens of vendors, and festivalgoers filled the space between the vendors to the brim, much like a heavily populated metropolitan area.

Sally Satterwhite said it’s always this busy.

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Satterwhite is a Jessamine County artist. She had her booth at the festival filled with paintings of flowers, pumpkins, and more. She’s been painting for about five or six years; this was her third year at the festival. She said out of all the festivals, this is the best one she sells at.

“(This festival) has the most traffic, it’s the most well-organized, and I make the most money here. This is a great festival, it is. And we’re fortunate that the weather held out. We were really worried about rain and wind,” Satterwhite said.

Vendors sold baby clothes, jewelry, honey, jams, art, fiber goods and more.

One of the fiber goods vendors has been honing her craft for about 40 years.

Mary Barlow does three shows a year selling her wares, and this festival is her last one for the year.

When she began working at Shaker Village, Barlow started weaving baskets, blankets, and other fiber goods. She worked at the village for 20 years and has found a new historic home.

“Now I’m at Fort Harrod. I’ve been there now for about 20 years,” Barlow said, standing behind a rack of her rugs adjacent to her hanging onion baskets.

Barlow has been selling at the Wilmore festival for years and is always impressed with it.

“I come here all the time. This is probably my seventh or tenth year, and I love coming here. This is the best festival because you have so many creative artists here, which makes this special. And the people here are wonderful, they’re they’re so kind. Whoever they are, they run this so well. I have done well today. The people have been wonderful and appreciative, and I just enjoy working with the crowd that’s coming through,” Barlow said.

Lexington resident Robin Dodd stopped at Barlow’s booth because she’s always looking for fiber and ceramics. She had never been to the Wilmore festival, but she had already been quite successful finding some new treasure and even bought a blanket to put over her baby as she left the vendor and continued her search.

“I am an arts and crafts fair junky. I always go to the fairs in Lexington and Berea, and this is the first time I made it down to this one. My sister invited me, and I didn’t know it was going on, and I jumped at the chance. I like it. We found some stuff for everybody. There’s usually folks parked outside of these types of things selling non-arts things, which are fun for the kids. We found Pokemon cards, and we stocked up on snacks,” Dodd said.

Towards the end of Main Street was a young girl selling her paintings.

Zuri Odago had never done anything like this before, but when attending the festival last year, an artist at a vendor encouraged her to do it and even gave her a free painting to inspire her pieces.

“I was really interested in it. So I’m here, and I have been working on it for a while,” Odago said with a giggle.

She had about a dozen art pieces, including a brightly-colored peacock drawing with an abstract background to match the bird’s green and blue colors. Odago said she painted the background and thought, “Oh, that’s not going to work that well if it’s just that, so I picked out this peacock, and then I colored it the colors of a peacock, and there I glued it on here, and then I put glue over it. It looks like it’s wet but it’s not. It’s dry. It kind of makes it look shiny and not rough.”

The festival went well for Odago. At first, she had a few sales from friends and her mother and father, but she then started getting some new patrons. She said she also plans to come back next year to sell her art.