The 51st annual Mad River Valley Craft Fair will be held at Kenyon’s Field on Main Street, Waitsfield, over Labor Day weekend, September 3 and 4, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Over 80 artists from all over Vermont and New England will offer their work for sale, along with live music, a food court, craft cocktails from Mad River Distillers, kids’ activities, and door prizes. There is a small cash entry fee for adults and teens; kids under 12 years of age can enter for free. All proceeds support the Valley Players, a community theater group in Waitsfield.
Many of the 80 artists are based in central Vermont. Noel Bailey of Noel Bailey Ceramics, Tom Bednash of Thomas Ceramics, and Victoria Meade of Images in Glass, are all based in Waitsfield, along with Anna Nasset of SUR Macrame and Winona Lowe, who brings her Twistlet purses to the fair for the first time. Irene Pluntky-Goedecke of Fayston and NYC offers her jewelry under the name of Pluntky; Alixandra Klein of Alixandra Barron is based in Waterbury; and Kelly Kindestin of Le Fusion Botanicals is from Barre. Josh Axelrod of Axelrod Photography from Roxbury will present images from a body of work titled “Paths to Somewhere, exploring the transported journey to a place of your choosing,” and Rosemary Pearson of Rosepjewelry and Nancy Rice of Vermont Lore Folks are from Middlesex. Other artists come from all over Vermont and New England.
Live music is always a big part of the fair and four bands will play throughout the two days. Scheduled to appear on Saturday morning is Green Mountain Swing, a 17-piece big band that recently appeared at the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. On Saturday afternoon, The Phineas Gage Project will entertain with their “Groovy Global Folk Funk” style. On Sunday morning Madigan Linnane, an emerging musician with roots in Grafton, MA, and now residing in the Mad River Valley, will play. She combines her own lyrics with a modern folk/pop/indie musical style. On Sunday afternoon the Medicine Tribe returns to the craft fair, featuring Colleen Mari Mays with her vocals and upbeat acoustic guitar, and TJ Johnson on keyboard. Mays has more than a decade of experience playing at the fair.
People can take a break from shopping to listen to music and have lunch or an adult beverage. Wilcox’s lemonade and ice cream returns to the craft fair with their from-scratch treats, and Rick’s Chuckwagon returns with hot dogs, sausages with onions and peppers, hamburgers, French fries, grilled cheese and more. New to the craft fair is Yak It To Me! serving yak burgers and sausage wraps. Mama Africa Cuisine will offer their fried chicken and samosas, and Mexican food will be on hand as well. To round things out, Mad River Distillers will be offering craft cocktails for those 21 or older. For the younger crowd there is free face painting and games.
The Valley Players purchased the craft fair in 1989, after 19 years of private ownership. Managed by Laura Arnesen and staffed by numerous volunteers, the fair provides support to maintain the Valley Players Theater, Waitsfield. The group has been promoting cultural activities in the Mad River Valley for 40 years, including production of plays and musicals, education in theatrical arts, and concerts and comedy shows. “The craft fair is our major source of funding for the year,” said board of directors member Ruth Ann Pattee. “We’re slowly coming back to a full production schedule, and we’re looking forward to seeing our family of vendors and visitors again this year at the fair.”
"Many thanks to our generous local businesses and nonprofits that donate to our door prize program,” said Arnesen. Many area inns, artists, restaurants and retail establishments are participating. Additional door prizes are welcome and can be donated by emailing Arnesen at
The Valley Players would like to remind everyone to leave pets at home. Masks under the tent are optional. For the full list of door prizes, artists, directions, and more information go to madrivercraftfair.com.