Someone recently asked me if I was proud of the craft community we had built through our festivals. The question surprised me. I’m aware we’re part of a larger community — and that we’re proud to be part of that community — but I hadn’t considered the ways our festivals had contributed until that moment.
Discovering our Contribution
I was pleasantly surprised to see that the more I thought about things, the more I realized we had been a part of the craft community. I have memories of couples who met at one of our festivals, had their stag/stagette there, and who returned year after year to celebrate with friends and family. Simultaneously, I’ve got endless memories of our exhibitors – who are so much more than just people we do business with.
In fact, there was one time when the elevator stopped working at an event we were hosting, so we were left having to carry the ice up 2 flights of stairs ourselves. Within minutes of us starting to carry the ice, a dozen exhibitors – who had their own booths to set up and had paid to be in the show – rushed over, grabbed these 25-pound bags of ice, and were hauling them up the stairs with us. I realize now that they were doing it because they felt like part of the festivals – and like part of a larger community.
A Craft Culture of Togetherness
As we welcome 10s of thousands of people to our annual festivals over the coming months, coming together over food, beverage, music and fun – we’re feeling particularly grateful for the craft community we’ve been so lucky to be a part of.
Societies either grow or diminish based on how they are able to harness the power of belonging in each of its citizens, and as we head into festival season, we’re beyond excited to welcome our community back together. One of the beautiful things about our craft community is that everyone belongs, but more than that, they’re celebrated. We hope that everyone, attendees and vendors, leave our festivals feeling a sense of camaraderie – we know we do.
President – ABF
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