Monday, March 4, 2013

Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2013

We recently attended Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2013, which is a fair organized by the Kentucky Arts Council. According to the promotional literature, the fair featured in excess of 200 vendors from throughout Kentucky, offering fine art, crafts, specialty foods, and books.

The one complaint that I had about the fair is that the the majority of the vendors seemed to cater to more high end clientele. We love buying from local artisans and supporting local businesses and craftsmen. To my surprise, however, there were many more vendors selling high end jewelry or boutique personal care products than selling hand made quilts or baskets. In hindsight, however, I suppose I was expecting more Appalachian crafts than decorator items for the larger urban areas in Central Kentucky. Clearly when I think of Kentucky I am biased towards the more mountainous region in which I grew up and currently reside, even though this region does not contain the majority of the population.

Even though there weren't as many of the types of vendors I had hoped, there were still several that we found interesting. We were most attracted to those selling pottery or woodwork, although a few of the metal workers also had some very interesting pieces. I also had to the opportunity to speak with someone at the Berea College Crafts booth to ask about a boot scraper that they use to carry. Unfortunately I learned that the item has been discontinued, but was advised to call to see if they might still have one in the warehouse that had gone unsold.

We ended up buying more food than anything else. Our first food purchase was some spicy pretzels from Yankee Doodle Deli. Next I picked up some sharp cheddar cheese from Boone Creek Creamery. I was very impressed with the quality and taste of their cheeses, and even enjoyed the smoked gouda, which is normally too much for me. While I picking out some cheese, Andrea was sampling some sauce from Kentucky's Smokin' Grill, which she enjoyed enough to buy. We next stopped to sample some of Mom Blakeman's creamed pull candy, which we bought a small container of. Finally, before leaving, we stopped by the Sweet Shoppe table to buy some fudge. We were actually already familiar with the Sweet Shoppe, as we had visited their store in Hodgenville, KY while visiting the Abraham Lincoln National Birthplace Historic Site.

We did buy a few items other than food. Andrea picked up a wooden dish towel rack, although I unfortunately don't know the name of the vendor from whom she purchased. I also picked up a couple of books from the University of Kentucky Press. It was actually hard deciding on which books to buy, as they had so many that I was interested in. More than one had been on my wish list for months, and I thought were currently out of print. I picked up a copy of Blue-grass and Rhododendron by great Kentucky author John Fox Jr as well as Days of Darkness: The Feuds of Eastern Kentucky, which is of great interest to me due to its focus on the history of this part of the state. I was also very interested in Slender is the Thread, by another great Kentucky author, Harry Caudill, Blue Jacket, by Allan Eckert, and The Kentucky, which is about the Kentucky River and was written by notable Kentucky historian Thomas D Clark.

We also stopped by and chatted with someone from Tater Knob Pottery & Farm, which we very often pass the sign for, but had never actually visited. We stopped by several other tables as well, but the one that most caught my attention was that of a couple from the small town that we live near. We didn't get a chance to chat with them, as they were always busy, which I took as a good sign. We may have to locate their studio at some point and pay them a visit.

All in all Andrea and I both felt that the fair was worth attending. The cost of admission was low, and there was a lot to see. If we lived closer to Lexington we would likely make it a regular event to attend. However, since the trip requires several hours of driving we will most likely not go back next year unless we just happen to be in town for some other reason.

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