Aiken’s Makin’ Craft Festival draws in vendors and visitors – WRDW-TV

News 12 at 11 / Sept. 12, 2015

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) — Streets were packed today for the 39th Aiken’s Makin’ craft festival.

More than 200 craft and food vendors, along with with 100 volunteers, worked to continue the Aiken tradition.

Lee Miller traveled from Easley to display his unique talent: crafting jewelry out of butterflies.

“Usually the first question is: is that really a real butterfly?,” he recalled, “Then they ask me where they come from, and if I capture my own butterflies. I get them from specimen companies who send them to me from all around the world.”

His creations have attracted customers for about ten years. Other vendors are bringing their crafts for the first time.

Laura Estrada designs and makes concrete statuary, such as bird baths, sculptures, and benches.

“It’s really great and we love the town. We’ve been doing very well, as long as this rain holds off,” said Estrada.

“One of the vendors just said he travels all over the Southeast to these events and he says Aiken is one of the friendliest and prettiest towns that he goes into,” said Co-Chair John McMichael.

“It’s a destination type of thing for a lot of people who have particular interests in craft fairs or craft events,” said Pegi Flahault, the volunteer coordinator for Aiken’s Makin’.

Festival coordinators say while streets are packed today, visitors just getting a taste of Aiken are likely to come back.

“You have a lot of people that come in and have never been to Aiken, but they come in because of this. And as a result, they come back for extended visits,” said McMichael.

For Miller, it’s all about sharing what he loves to do with the people who appreciate it most.

The Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce received 235 applications for 180 arts and craft spots this year.

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