150 Artisans to Exhibit at the Valle Country Fair October 15, 2022
VALLE CRUCIS, NC -- Over 150 exhibitors will be selling their original handmade creations at the 44th annual Valle Country Fair coming up Saturday, October 15. The craft masters include fourteen artisans who will be showing their work for the first time, and four craftspeople have participated in the Valle Fair for 20 or more years.
The exhibitors who have sold their creations at the Valle Country Fair the longest include John Dean of Valle Crucis who has been selling poplar bark birdhouses, bird feeders and berry baskets for 41of the 44 years since the community harvest celebration began, and Scott Deming of Butler, TN, who has sculpted art pieces from wood for 31years. Brenda Schramm of Boone and Joyce Albrecht of Hilton Head Island have each participated in the Valle Country Fair for 20 years, with Schramm selling red stoneware pottery and Albrecht offering gourd bowls.
The Valle Country Fair is held on the third Saturday in October (Saturday, October 15, 2022). The festivities spread out across a large hayfield on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center on NC Highway 194. Admission is free and parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car. PETS ARE NOT PERMITTED AT THE FAIR.
Crafts booths, food tents, musical stages and demonstrations of harvest traditions like apple cider pressing and apple butter cooking are set up along wide lanes that meander back and forth across the meadow. Bales of hay are stacked in the intersections of these walkways to offer fairgoers places to sit while they ponder which booths to visit next.
"Although there may be several booths selling work fashioned in the same artistic medium," said arts & crafts committee co-chair Carolyn Shepherd, "each artisan was selected because they have a unique style and point of view that differentiates their work from the others."
Exhibitors submit to a jury process designed to make certain that all work meets the Fair's primary requirement "to be original in design, form, and concept," as well as to ensure that shoppers will have a wide variety of artistic media to choose from.
"We have shoppers who come each year to see what new work their favorite exhibitors have added to their portfolios," continued Shepherd, "and others who come to see what kind of wares folks who are exhibiting for the first time bring to the mix." There are 14 first-time exhibitors participating in 2022, which Shepherd says is about average.
"A surprising number of the artists tell us that this is their favorite show," Shepherd said. "And these are people who travel across several states attending multiple shows a year.
"They like the people and the atmosphere, and they like the reason our community works so hard to put on a quality event," she said. "The artists appreciate that net proceeds from the Fair go back into the community to help those less fortunate. As a show of support for the mission behind the event, the artists donate 10% of their earnings back to the charitable work of the Fair."
Over its first four decades, the Valle Country Fair raised more than $1 Million for human services and emergency relief in the High Country. Last year the Fair put $55,000 back into the community through grants that support the programming of local non-profit organizations and through financial assistance to local families with emergency needs.
Recipients of grants from the 2022 Valle Country Fair are the Children’s Council, Girls on the Run, High Country Caregivers, the Jason Project, LIFE House, the Mediation and Restorative Justice Center, Mountain Alliance, Reaching Avery Ministries, Spirit Ride Therapeutic Riding Center and Watauga County Schools Extended Learning Centers. Theoutreach committee at Holy Cross Church distributes all remaining proceeds to help local families.
The big news in 2022 is that Fair organizers and County Public Safety officers both report that because a second entrance to the fairgrounds was added last year, traffic congestion is no longer a problem at the Valle Country Fair.
"Traffic improved by a landslide," said Captain Carolyn Johnson of the Watauga County Sheriff's Department. "Having two entrances practically eliminated time spent sitting in long lines of cars and, for the most part, kept traffic flowing continually."
During the morning hours, traffic managers direct vehicles off NC 194 and onto the fairgrounds via two different gates, meaning that fairgoers spend considerably less time in traffic waiting to get into the event. When traffic arriving at the Fair slows down around mid-day, the second gate is converted into a second exit, allowing cars departing the fairgrounds to get back on the highway quickly and easily.
The single-day harvest festival is held in a large hayfield located alongside NC Highway 194 between Valle Crucis and Banner Elk. Admission to the Valle Country Fair is FREE and parking is available in the adjoining field for $10 per car, $25 for a small bus or van, and $50 for a motor coach. NO PETS are allowed.
Media sponsors for VCF 2022 are Curtis Media Group and Mountain Times Publications. The event is produced by Holy Cross Episcopal Church in cooperation with the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Proceeds are used to provide grants to local non-profit organizations, and relief to local families with emergency needs.For more information, contact Holy Cross Church at 828-963-4609 or visit the Fair on the Web at www.vallecountryfair.org.