Craft fairs draw crowds – Arkansas Online

Mary Wall quickly cuts a piece of ribbon and attaches it to a coffee-mug shaped chalkboard during the Frisco Station Mall Fall Craft Fair on Saturday.

The craft fair has been running for more than 20 years, said Anne Burbage, craft fair promoter. She said it attracts about 90 vendors and thousands of shoppers each year.

It is one of many craft fairs in Northwest Arkansas this weekend. Crowds also flocked to Parsons Stadium in Springdale for the Rodeo of the Ozarks Arts & Crafts Fair.

Patty Kramer and her son, Jason, both of Springdale, came out to Parsons Stadium specifically for cupcakes Saturday afternoon, they said.

The mother and son stood among a swirl of people looking at jewelry, quilts and knitted scarves and bit into homemade cupcakes.

“It’s never a bad time for cupcakes,” Jason Kramer said.

The Kramers were among at least 500 people who came to the Ozarks Arts & Crafts Fair during the three-day event this week, said Sophia Murray, an event organizer and administrative assistant. Vendors at the fair Saturday said traffic had been steady.

Stephanie Long, owner of The Cake Occasion, said she sold about 84 cupcakes over the past three days. The Kramers bought their cupcakes from her.

Long said the fair helped get her business exposure. She is a student at the Northwest Arkansas Community College and hopes to open her own store in Springdale or Fayetteville someday, she said. She wants to make people happy with cupcakes and baked goods, she said.

“This might sound cliche, but when you give someone something that tastes really great — they smile,” Long said. “It makes me happy.”

The fair, held by the rodeo for the first time in years, was such a success organizers likely will have it again, Murray said. Attendance was better than expected, she said.

Wall, of Bella Vista, is newer to the Frisco Station Mall Fall Craft Fair. Her booth made up of chalkboards and mirrors framed with hand-designed wood bustled with shoppers during the event.

“These are all my original designs,” Wall said. “I design them and my husband cuts them out. I then do the painting.”

It didn’t take long for Cindy Acree of Bentonville to pick out the coffee-mug shaped chalkboard.

“I love it,” Acree said. “It is very modern.”

Burbage said she was manager of the mall when the craft fair started. She said it seemed like a good way to promote the mall.

“We knew there were craft fairs in the area and we decided this was a perfect spot for one,” Burbage said.

Carri Carpenter, mall marketing manager, said the event continues to give the mall publicity. She said it once was a main attraction for the region but as other malls were built people don’t realize it exists.

“This used to be the place to go,” Carpenter said. “People tell me all the time how they remember going to the movies here. The fair brings in a lot of foot traffic and people realize we are still here.”

The October fair is one of three held at the mall each year. The other events are held in May and December.

Murray said most people at the Springdale fair were from Northwest Arkansas, but not everyone. People from Oklahoma to South Dakota turned out to look at crafts, said Bryan Thingpen, owner of Boudreaux’s Swamp Sauces and Seasoning.

Thingpen’s booth was set up just inside the door of the stadium.

Tour groups wearing the same shirts toured the fair, and some people parked at the stadium and carpooled to other craft fairs, Thingpen said. Families made a whole day out of “crafting,” or touring craft fairs and shopping, he said.

NW News on 10/18/2015