Craft Fair honors 70 years of creative heritage


As the Swannanoa Valley awaits the holiday season, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands continues to offer the public opportunities to cultivate craft in their daily life. This fine craft event returns to the U.S. Cellular Center at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 20 and lasts until 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 22.

Furniture maker Brian Brace is one of four Black Mountain residents showing work this weekend at the  Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands (David Scott, Jay Pfeil and Robert Vengochea are the others).

The air will feature nearly 180 makers with both contemporary and traditional work in clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media and jewelry. The members will fill both the arena and concourse of the U.S. Cellular Center. Each maker has undergone a two-step jury process as a part of the guild's legacy to uphold a set of standards established by their creative peers.

Additionally, there will be a range of craft demonstrations with interactive activities for visitors, such as Brandy Clements of Silver River Chair Caning Center with rush and lace cane on handmade frames and mixed media artist Cindi Lemkau showcasing embroidery and appliqué. Fiber extraordinaire Cassie Dixon will be demonstrating flax making among other techniques.

Each day provides various experiences in addition to shopping. At 1 p.m., quilt appraiser Connie Brown will be presenting a 15-minute bed turning that will feature a range of Southern and vintage quilts. Mountain musicians, from old time to bluegrass, perform live on the arena stage daily. Since the first fair, the music of the area has been woven into the fabric of the craft fair experience.

The Southern Highland Craft Guild is also partnering with local service, Slidr, to assist customers and visitors with their transportation to the fair. With fall being the most visited time of year for Asheville, the guild looks to provide ease of access through the electronic shuttle. Slidr will be offering visitors free shuttle rides to and from the North Asheville area near Chestnut Street and the Asheville Chamber straight to the door of the U.S. Cellular Center. Slidr's free mobile app allows users to request a shuttle anytime throughout the event.

Tickets are $8. Weekend passes are $12. Children under 12 get in free. There's more at or 828-298-7928.