In its ninth year, Effingham Artisan Fair officials decided to take some creative license.
For the first time, the fair has been moved to Mother’s Day weekend, and there will be plenty to keep the whole family, and individuals, occupied.
“We moved it back a couple weeks this year, hoping a few weeks would warm it up a bit,” said Effingham Director of Tourism Jodi Jackson. “We hope to bring out families who will go with or buy for Mom.”
More than 40 artists will display their various wares at the fair, with about 30 of them starting the event off on Friday evening, which is optional.
Jackson says that evening is usually a “soft opening” to the weekend, but can hardly be called so this year with such a large number of artists participating.
Visitors will be able to view and purchase sculptures, jewelry, pottery, glasswork, metalwork, woodwork, paintings, and everything in between at the fair this year, and may even get a peak at the artistic process.
“We might have some pottery demonstrations,” Jackson said. “Usually we have (some type of demonstration). That’s always fun to see too.
“We’ve got a good group of (food) vendors this year, too.”
Martin’s IGA, Gabby Goat, Sausage Haus, Oma Gisi’s German Bakery, The Kitchen of Doris Yoder, Holli’s Flour Shop, The Cookie Jar and Tropical Sno will be on hand to offer their fares.
Jansen’s Dance Center will kick off the Friday Arts and Hearts with a 5 p.m. performance on Fourth Street, followed by TREC’s downtown tricycle races at 5:30 p.m.
A slew of nonprofit organizations will be on hand throughout the evening to hand out information on their activities and fundraisers, and the Kids Korner will be open all weekend to keep the young artists happy with crafts centered around Mother’s Day gifts. In addition, Can-Do-Art and sidewalk chalk art will offer amateur artists of all ages the opportunity to show off their stuff all weekend.
The annual ARC art auction begins at 6:30 p.m. on Washington Avenue.
“This is obviously a big deal for ARC,” Jackson said. “The residents of ARC made great paintings, and it’s a great thing to support it.”
Items up for auction and will be on display at Joe Sippers until Friday.
Auction-goers will have the opportunity to sample adult beverages during the auction at the wine-tasting station, which will feature about 15 wineries and breweries.
“You can even bid from there,” Jackson said of the tasting’s position adjacent to the auction. “We added craft beers a couple years ago, and that’s been a big hit. There’s something for everyone.”
Wine- and craft beer-tasting will last from 5 to 10 p.m. on Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.
The fair will be in full swing on Saturday, with Helen Matthes Library’s 5K, Quit Veggin’ and Get Bookin’, kicking it off at 9 a.m. (registration begins at 8 a.m.). All artists will be on hand to sell and mingle with the public from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Also beginning at 10 a.m. is the second annual Coffee Crawl. Caffeine cravers may collect their free passport Friday evening or Saturday at the information booth and proceed to visit participating downtown businesses for complimentary beverages and snacks. Each location will stamp the passports, and when they are filled out they may be dropped off back at the information booth to be entered into a drawing for many downtown businesses’ products and services.
“It’s a nice addition to the Artisan Fair,” Jackson said. “It promotes shopping (at local businesses), and visitors can see what we have in that area.”
There will be live music throughout the day, including performances from Mike Antrim, Andy Rueter, Dakota Esker and Jordan Chestnut and Jed Adam.
“It’s a fun family activity,” Jackson said of the fair. “There’s really something to do for the whole family, with dance performances, music, kids’ activities... It’s a unique experience for Effingham to support culture and art, which are things we really support in our town.”
Nicole Dominique can be reached at nicole.dominique@effingham dailynews.com, at 217-347-7151, ext. 136, or on Twitter @EDNNDominique