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Arts & Crafts Season is Nigh

Can you believe it’s November already? A quick check of upcoming calendar events confirms that craft market high season rapidly approaches here in the Triangle. Many favorite craft markets are back for the holiday season, as well as a couple of new events this year. I’ve compiled currently available information and will make updates as new information becomes available (so bookmark this post to check back for those updates). Ready to get your shop on? Good, because it starts this weekend!

First Stop – Your Local Farmers Market

If you look closely, sprinkled among the produce vendors at your local farmers market you will find a craft artisan or two selling hand-made items. This Saturday, November 3rd (8 am to 1 pm), the Western Wake Farmers Market holds its annual Fall Craft Fair, essentially doubling the size of the market during this single day event. Shoppers will find pottery, textile crafts and even treats for good dogs. Need a gift for a cook? Stop by the Olifant + Castelo booth for spice & rub gift boxes, chai tea sets & gourmet salts.

Orange County Artists Guild Open Studio Tour – Nov. 3 & 4, 10 & 11

Now in its 18th year, the annual Orange County Artists Guild Open Tour Studio begins this weekend, inviting the public into artist studios all around Orange County.  With more than 70 participating artists, it would be quite a challenge to fit them all in the one weekend – thank goodness there are two weekends! Download and review the tour brochure to plot your artsy course around Hillsborough, Chapel Hill & Carrboro.

The Handmade Market – Nov. 10, 11 am – 5 pm

This is one of my favorite craft fairs.  I never walk away empty-handed.  Held indoors at Cobblestone Hall in City Market, bad weather is never an issue.  I suggest arriving a little earlier than the 11 am opening and treating yourself to breakfast at Big Ed’s, or a beverage at Benelux Cafe, both located within City Market. Admission to the event is free but donations can be made at the door to benefit a local charity (this time the event benefits Urban Ministries of Wake Co.).  Your donation will enter you into a raffle for a gift basket valued at $100.  Check the Handmade Market’s website for this fall’s participants and start checking off your gift list.

Duke Gardens Craft Sale – Nov. 12, 10 am – 2:30 pm (free parking until 1 pm)

Have an avid gardener on your gift list? The nature-themed, garden-focused decorations and gifts created by Duke Gardens Garden Guild may make a perfect gift for that person. Proceeds support the lovely Duke Gardens.  If the weather allows, consider packing a picnic lunch to enjoy a fall picnic while at the gardens.

Durham Art Walk Holiday Market – Nov. 16 & 17

The two-day semi-annual art walk’s holiday edition really cranks up the season in Durham.  Staged in various venues around downtown, shoppers can stroll from site to site (or catch a free ride on the Bull City Connector) to shop, catch live music performances, and dine in any number of world-class restaurants.  Look for holiday market program and map in the Nov. 11th edition of the Herald-Sun or check the Art Walk website to plan your visit.

Designers Downtown Market – Nov. 17, 9 am – 3 pm

The Designers Downtown Market takes place five times a year, from spring through fall, and the last market (the holiday edition) for this year will be Nov. 17 (unless it rains, then it moves to the following day, Nov. 18) in the parking lot by Ornamentea on West Street in Raleigh. Coincidentally (or purposely perhaps), the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade kicks off around the same start time, this same day. Double the reason to visit downtown Raleigh on this date.

ELF Fair at The ArtsCenter – Dec. 1, 11 am – 5 pm

Once again, ELF Fair returns to The ArtsCenter in Carrboro, and promises to be bigger and better than the last, with food trucks, live music, old holiday movies, and Santa and his elves.  Be sure to check the website blog link for updates on this year’s participating crafters, or see what you may have missed last year.

Boylan Heights ArtWalk – Dec. 2, 12 pm – 5 pm

This popular event (in its 20th year) held in downtown Raleigh’s Boylan Heights allows us to stroll a historic neighborhood and shop more than 100 artists & craft persons, displaying their wares on porches, in homes & studios. Admission is free to this fun and unique event and more details can be found on the Facebook event page.

34th Annual Christmas Craft Show at Daniel Boone Village – Dec. 2, 9 am – 5 pm

Bring the kids out to the Big Barn in Daniel Boone Village to visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, while browsing dozens of craft vendors at this annual Hillsborough event.  Non-perishable food donations will be collected for OCIM too, so bring along a couple of items to donate.

Brand Fandango XI at Design Box – Dec. 7, First Friday opening night 6 pm – 10 pm

December 1st through 22nd, Raleigh’s DesignBox hosts its eleventh Brand Fandango, a showcase for local arts, crafts and brands.  Find details regarding this year’s vendors at the Design Box website, then plan your December First Friday holiday shopping activities accordingly.

20th Annual Chatham Studio Tour – Dec. 8th & 9th, 10 am to 5 pm

One of the oldest such tours in the state, Chatham County artists open their studios to the public the first two weekends of December (we’re now in the second and final weekend). A map for the self-guided tour of fifty artist studios is available at the Chatham Artists Guild website (here), along with information about each artist’s work. Peruse the website thoroughly, then plot your artsy course through the Chatham County countryside.

Saxapahaw Holiday Market – Dec. 8th (9 am to 9 pm) & 9th (12 pm – 5 pm)

The Haw River Ballroom is hosting a two-day “holiday market of old” featuring the works of local artists. In addition, expect to find food and beverage at nearby Eddy Pub, Saxapahaw General Store and Cup 22. Entertainment’s included in the free admission price, as well as the Saxapahaw Christmas parade at 3 pm on Saturday. Sure to be a fun time while shopping for local gifts.

dtownMARKET Holiday Style – Dec. 15, 12 pm – 6 pm

A special holiday market version of the semi-monthly dtownMARKET will be at Motorco (near Fullsteam) in Durham and features 50 local designers.  Come to finish that last minute shopping and stay for food trucks, live family-friendly music, a DIY craft and gift wrapping station and Holiday Photo Booth. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? See more details at the Facebook event page here.

Person Street Holiday Art Market – Dec 15, 11 am – 5 pm

A new holiday market is being planned by Anvil Studio Gallery, found on Person Street in Raleigh’s Mordecai neighborhood, with 25 juried artists and crafts persons participating. Expect to find fine art, prints and note cards, jewelry, natural bath and body care products and a mobile fashion and gift boutique on wheels in the Go Girl Shoppe. Oh, and expect food trucks here too.

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That’s more than enough craftiness to carry us through the year, don’t ya think?  I hope you find yourself at just one of these events, and that you find the perfect hand-crafted treasure from your community.

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