The Art & Craft Festival in Fairhope, Alabama

by Mitchell Land

Fairhope, Alabama is on Mobile Bay of the Gulf Coast, approximately 25 minutes from Mobile. Every year since 1952, the town has celebrated the Arts and Crafts Festival. The festival marks the beginning of spring, and was voted in the top 20 out of 100 Best Predominately Classic and Contemporary Craft Shows in the country by "Sunshine Artist" magazine in 2010.

History

The Fairhope Arts and Crafts Festival began in 1952 as a tour to coordinate with the Mobile Jaycees' Azalea Trail and Mobile Mardi Gras festivities. The first Arts and Crafts tour was in February of that year and was made up mostly of viewing exhibits and not art for sale. The tour grew in 1965 when artists and activities were invited from surrounding towns. The festival slowly grew through the 1970s and 1980s, and it gained national recognition with some awards in 1997.

Artists

Artist appearances and contributions vary from year to year, but most categories maintain a solid representation. Artists from all over the U.S. come to Fairhope to show their work in categories like decorative, functional, graphics and drawing, jewelry, painting, photography, pottery and ceramics, sculpture, watercolor and woodwork. Not all of these artists attend the festival to sell work. Some participate merely to showcase their work or perhaps meet potential buyers and studio owners.

Food and Entertainment

The Fairhope Annual Arts and Crafts Festival has a food court with restaurants running the stands, like Copeland's Ice Cream, Corrine's Rolling Kitchen, Thai All Star Grill and Wetumpka Sno Biz. Businesses also participate, such as Cajun Specialty Meats, Inc., Mermaid Special Events and Cobb & Company, LLC. Entertainment outside of the visual arts is also an option for festival goers, with children's choirs, bluegrass, jazz and country bands participating, among others.

Tickets and Transportation

Admission to the Arts and Crafts Festival is free for all attendees. The Baldwin County Area Transportation System offers a shuttle service from the Plantation Pointe Shopping Center, Eastern Shore Village Center and Ecor Rouge Place. The shuttle ride costs $1 for a one-way trip, at the time of publication. More than 250,000 people attended the festival in 2010, so it is important to plan transportation ahead of time to avoid delays and traffic.

About the Author

Residing in Bristol, Va., Mitchell Land began writing for various websites in 2010. He worked as a writing center tutor at Baylor School for three years, where he also contributed music reviews to "Baylor Notes." He attends Greensboro College in North Carolina and studies theater and French.